November 22, 1979 - July 3, 2008
Simon was a friend of my son's in Kissimmee, Florida. He was self-employed and did maintenance and carpentry work for a vacation resort community comprised of rental homes. Tragically, he was electrocuted while replacing a pool pump on a swimming pool at one of these rental homes. I never had the pleasure of meeting this young man of 28 years, but I had the opportunity, through my job, to speak with him by phone on occasion. He was a wonderful young man, dedicated to his family and to the rescue and care of exotic animals at a wildlife sanctuary owned and operated by his family.
To Simon John Yates, the entire world was a stage. An expressive, optimistic, and uninhibited individual, he was a performer in the theater of life. To everyone around him, he seemed to be eternally happy and willingly shared that joy with anyone whose life he touched. For Simon, bringing out the best in any situation was as easy as offering a smile, a witty remark or the twinkle of an eye. And with just those simple gestures, he could evoke the most pleasant of emotions. Simon really mastered the art of living and had great fun in doing so.
Simon was born and raised in Liverpool, England until 12 years of age, when his family moved to Florida in 1992. Even as a child, he had the ability to lift the spirits of all those around him. He was raised to be warm, caring and friendly. He couldn't help but capture everyone's attention.
Always a good playmate, Simon was easygoing and fun loving. He managed to lighten the mood wherever he was, even during family squabbles. He seemed to have a knack for bringing compromise and erasing tense situations. Due to a generous dose of common sense, he managed to find a satisfying solution to basic problems. He was raised with one sibling, a younger brother, James, 16.
All of Simon's playful good humor carried over from his childhood. He was possessed with an outgoing personality, a lively imagination and a mellowed enthusiasm for life that allowed him to be constantly on the go. As a result, he experienced a rather active childhood, and this suited him very well. He took part in tack and swimming, and he was also in the British Boys Brigade.
Ask anyone who knew him from school, and they would tell you that he was a class “cut-up.” He didn't do it to be unkind or to garner all the attention. Rather, he simply enjoyed others' laughter and the sounds of his friends having a good time. It could be said that for Simon, grades may not have been the most important thing to him, but he really did enjoy his school experience. Since experience was Simon's best teacher, he enjoyed hands-on learning and applying the “practical” approach to knowledge, rather than getting caught up in “theory.” Simon graduated from Poinciana High School in 1998. He enjoyed some courses more than others, having favorite classes and teachers. His favorite class in high school was swimming. He had an A+ in hall passes.
Simon never actually encountered a stranger in his dealings with people. He was drawn to individuals and crowds, using his gregarious, adaptable and outgoing personality to captivate his audience. This quality allowed him to continually develop new relationships, ever widening his circle of friends. Simon delighted in his role among his acquaintances, because he viewed them all as potential spectators for his performance. Whether it was a story, a joke, a song or just plain fooling around, Simon was always right at home putting on a show among his friends. He utilized his interest in others as a great way to connect with them. He loved sharing life and having his home filled with people he knew.
At work, as in life, Simon was a real “people person.” He had a very successful way of dealing effectively with others, and his enthusiasm and energy was often contagious. He liked to see himself as something of a virtuoso. When dealing with various projects and problems, Simon was an adaptable realist, using his common sense and trusting his experiences and impulses to uncover the correct answer. His talent for being a down-to-earth thinker allowed many around him to see him as an excellent problem solver. His primary occupation was in carpentry.
Simon enjoyed his leisure time by taking part in various hobbies. An “arts and crafts” type, Simon liked creating and making things. His favorite pursuits were water sports and working with animals. Simon was content to enjoy his hobbies alone but was also willing to share his interests with others.
Simon felt excited and challenged by sports. Even if he wasn't the best, he loved to participate and thoroughly enjoyed the competition and the pleasure of being around other people. He relished the opportunities where he could make an impact, and he would often push himself to play above his abilities. A quick thinker who understood the basics, he never seemed to get caught off guard, even when confronted with unexpected conflict. Recreational sports included softball and water sports. He was also something of a sports fan and enjoyed watching his favorite events whenever he got the opportunity.
Simon was a lover of animals and cherished his pets, enjoying them almost as much as he enjoyed being around other people. One of his favorites was his dog, Hennessey, a Doberman Pinscher. They were best friends for 9 years. His family was rounded out by his 4 large snakes.
Simon brought joy to all of those around him. He had not a mean bone in his body. He loved to have a good time and was an eternal optimist, always looking on the bright side of things. He loved to share his energy, wit, and his zest for all of his activities with his friends and family. Simon John Yates lived life to its fullest and made everyone around him happier just for knowing him. He will be remembered with a smile.