A love for soccer and darts, a “smile of sunshine”, embracing technology, and repairing all types of electronic equipment, are just some of the many things that Martin Simon will be remembered for, say those who knew him.
Mr Simon was born in Noordhoek on November 6, 1945, and died in his sleep at the age of 77 in Ocean View on Thursday, June 15, according to his daughter Noleen Forsyth.
He was deployed at Silverglades Pharmacy at the time of his death.
Mr Simon had 12 siblings and is survived by two of his sisters, his wife Gillian, three daughters, Bonita, Gail, and Noleen, sons-in-law, Mervin Letsapi and Richard Forsyth, seven grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.
After leaving school, Mr Simon worked at Cuthberts Shoe Store.
According to Warren’s Pharmacy owner Kirtikant Patel and his wife Nisha, Mr Simon started working at Warren’s Pharmacy at the age of 17.
He started in deliveries – delivering to residents of the far south on his motorcycle.
He then moved on to the photographic department and attended a number of photographic courses while in that department.
Ms Patel said that he finally came into his own when he was moved to the ordering and receiving department – a department which he eventually headed.
He worked between Warren’s, Freeman’s Station, Fish Hoek Centre, and Silverglades pharmacies where he imparted his expertise to strengthen the systems and train the staff at the various businesses.
He spent the last 15 years of his employment between Warren’s Pharmacy and Silverglades Pharmacy.
Ms Patel said Mr Simon was extremely skilled at ordering and was able to source difficult-to-obtain items, and had a deep knowledge of market leaders and stock turnover.
He joined the ranks when orders were placed telephonically via a telephone exchange to the wholesaler, and ended when the entire system was fully computerised with real-time acknowledgement of orders and out-of-stock situations.
Throughout his tenure as a stock management clerk, he moved from the tedious manual method of stock cards, stock books, and stock sheets through the various stages of computing to a fully integrated computerised stock management system.
As a Baby Boomer, used to pen and paper, Mr Simon took these changes in his stride even though they were challenging.
He loved soccer and took a keen interest in the matches played in the valley and the game of darts.
He embraced technology and was good at repairing all types of electronic equipment, troubleshooting when things didn’t work, and making a plan to get them to work.
Ms Patel said Martin was quietly confident, the quintessential gentleman, a consummate teacher, and mentor, diplomatic, loyal, discreet, and exhaustively meticulous with a smile of sunshine and a heart of gold.
“Martin, I hope that you are sitting with your glass of whiskey and having a chuckle as we go about our mundane duties, muttering to yourself, ‘I told you so…’ but content for a life that was well lived, a lasting legacy that will remain with us at Warren’s and Silverglades Pharmacies and for a profound contribution to the growth and success of our businesses and health care in the Fish Hoek valley. You will be missed but memories of you deeply treasured,” said Ms Patel.
One of the pharmacists at Warrens Pharmacy, Sagar Kantipotu, said: “Uncle Martin was a pleasant soul. He was a hard worker and a role model and the best at obtaining medicine stock.
“He inspired me on one thing in life, work passionately and stay active. You will always be remembered.”
Silverglades Pharmacy pharmacist Phyllis Morris said she had worked with Mr Simon for about 15 years and although he was a “quiet and private person” they became good friends and had many “a thought together.”
“His work ethic was one of a kind. What a privilege it was to work with him. He is irreplaceable. What a legend,” she said.
A colleague, Rowena Swartz, said: “I learned so much from you. You will always be a remarkable old stubborn man to me and will always have a special place in my heart. I will never forget you.”
Another colleague, Elmarie Kruger said Mr Simon was a phenomenal colleague and tutor.
“He became very impatient when he couldn’t read our handwriting but that was all part of working fun. I will miss you, Martin.”
Similar tributes have poured in from colleagues, reps, clients, and friends, which bear testament to the fact that Martin Joseph Simon was an institution in the greater Fish Hoek area and beyond, said Mr Patel.