Mattress industry veteran Donald S. Simon died Dec. 12 in Rancho Mirage, California. He was 94. Simon spent his entire career in bedding at the company founded by his grandfather, the former Serta licensee Simon Mattress, based in San Francisco.
Simon helped to expand the company from one to three manufacturing plants—two in the Pacific Northwest and one in Hawaii—according to an obituary published by the Simon family. He also served on the board of the Serta licensing group and was its chair for 10 years. In 2000, Simon Mattress was acquired by the new Serta corporate entity as part of its roll-up of licensees.
Simon was an active participant in the International Sleep Products Association. He joined its board in 1986, the year the organization changed its name from the National Association of Bedding Manufacturers. He served as ISPA president in 1992, was a member of ISPA’s consumer-education arm, the Better Sleep Council, from 1993 to 1994, and earned the association’s Exceptional Service Award (now the Russell Abolt Exceptional Service Award) in 1996.
According to Norman Veitzer, retired chair of mattress maker Omaha Bedding and a past ISPA chair, who knew Simon for more than 40 years, Simon relished his participation in ISPA. “He liked being involved in all aspects of the association. ISPA was very important to him. He wanted to do everything in his power to guarantee the industry’s overall success, for it to be profitable for all. He loved this industry and worked hard to raise its profile and reputation internationally.
“His greatest strengths were his personality and his interest in and affinity for the business, and the industry in general. He really enjoyed his work. You knew when he’d made a big decision by the twinkle in his eye and the smile on his face.”
Simon was born Jan. 30, 1922, to Maude and Jerome Simon in San Francisco. He became an Eagle Scout and later earned a degree from the University of California, Berkeley.
He served in the U.S. Navy as a commissioned officer during two wars, attaining the rank of lieutenant commander. During World War II, Simon was ship’s purser aboard the USS Petrof Bay, the only carrier not hit during the Battle of Leyte Gulf, near the Philippines, which has been called the largest naval battle of all time. Simon was called back from civilian life and his post in the family business during the Korean War and served two more years as a naval officer.
Survivors include his wife of 67 years Ronny, daughter Ann Simon Pier, sons Donny and Keith, son-in-law Chip Pier, daughter-in-law Kass Simon, and 12 grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his sister Nancy.
The family requests remembrances in the form of donations to a favorite charity and a guestbook is available at http://desert.sn/2iWpGNg.