The Times-Independent

George Simons, 1940-2020


George Simons

George Symeon “The Greek” Simons, 80, passed away on Dec. 31, 2020 at his home in Moab, Utah. George was born to Symeon and Artemesia Simons on May 5, 1940 in Price, Utah.

George lived a life of adventure. Starting at age 18 George won the Price Chamber of Commerce’s “Dollar Day” competition by carrying $500 silver dollars, in a bag, for one mile, in one hand. This feat of strength and endurance earned George the moniker “The Greek with the Golden Arm.”

Employing his God-given talents as a mechanic, George then embarked on a stint in the Air Force as a mechanic, receiving an honorable discharge. It is during his time in the Air Force that George developed his love of flying aircraft and sparked his goal to obtain his pilot’s license.

After returning to Moab, George then worked at Potash, mining the valuable salt deposit. However, driving along the Colorado River each day back and forth to Potash sparked a fire in George to work as a river guide. George left Potash to work on the Colorado River as a whitewater river guide taking tourists on weeklong adventures down the river.

In the early 1970s, George was then recruited to build the Canyon King paddle-wheeler. The Canyon King was designed to ply the waters of the Colorado River out of Moab as a tourist draw. In 1972, the Canyon King was launched with dignitaries from all over the state in attendance, including the governor. Once the Canyon King project was completed, George sought out new adventures where he could put his fabrication and mechanical skills to work.

George worked at Texas Gulf, Atlas Minerals and a number of other mining companies and locations in southern Utah. George progressed to becoming a professional millwright, a profession that required he be exact in assembling, installing, repairing, reassembling, and maintaining the mines or mills and all heavy equipment and infrastructure. It was in this profession that George excelled. George’s ability to assess a problem and see the solution, then repair, build the part or tool needed was legendary and he was highly sought after for his unique skill set.

Waking up one morning, George decided he wanted to pursue his dream to become a commercial fisherman. Obviously, this decision required George and his family to move from Moab to Chinook, a little town on the southern tip of Washington State. There, George began his career as a commercial fisherman, fishing up and down the western seaboard chasing tuna and salmon. After a few years, and missing the mountains and desert of Moab, George ended this adventure and returned home. Unfortunately, George experienced a significant on-the-job back injury while working as a heavy equipment mechanic. As part of his rehabilitation, George obtained his associate’s degree from the College of Eastern Utah. After this, George elected to retire and to work fulltime at helping his friends, colleagues, and acquaintances. At least he helped others when he was not scouting, hunting, fishing, or just traveling the countryside and mountains since he loved being in the outdoors.

Over the past 25 years, George made it a point to help anyone in need. He gave freely of his time, money and support to anyone who came into his sphere of influence. As many know, one of his greatest passions was to discuss scripture and life choices with anyone who showed the desire, oftentimes making sure they had a beer (or two) or a “snort” to wet their throat during the discussions.

The list is long of those George helped without any thought of payment or recompense, all he wanted was to be there for those who needed help. And that is how George lived his life to the very end.

George is survived by his beautiful sisters, Despina Struck (Colorado Springs) and Syd Colessides (Salt Lake City). His children include Leslie Faught, Mark Simons, Amy Quayle, Kevan Beijan and Shawn Beijan. George is survived by 13 grandchildren.

George elected to make his final resting place at the Sunset Memorial Gardens in Moab, facing east so he could look at the red rock bluffs and the La Sal Mountains in the distance. In lieu of flowers, or if you want to just give back in some fashion, please consider making a donation to Grand County Hospice (www.mrhmoab.org) as they were wonderful in their compassion and care.

Condolences may be sent to the family at www.spanishvalleymortuary.com.