|Volume LVII||August 2010||Number 3|
The Simons Say: Enjoy the Simple Life
Meet a Modern-Day Renaissance Couple
Bro. Ralph J. Simons, North Hills Lodge No. 716, Wexford, and his wife, Orpah, enjoy the simple things in life. Married for 66 years this month, the couple resides on a 130-acre farm near Butler, and spends the winters in Atlantis, Fla.
Bro. Ralph developed a strong work ethic early in life. His family lost its home in Pittsburgh during the Depression, so he worked in the summers to save money for clothes. Shortly after his graduation from Etna High School, Bro. Ralph joined the U.S. Marine Corps. It was the day after the bombing of Pearl Harbor; a brave decision characteristic of a man not afraid to take risks and do what's right.
When an injury ended his military career, he took a six-week algebra course in just two days so he could enroll in college. He earned his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Carnegie Mellon in two years and eight months. Thankful for his free education provided under Public Law 16, he was determined to pay it back at some point in his life. In 2005, he and Orpah made a substantial donation to Carnegie Mellon's College of Engineering, created a scholarship fund for mechanical engineering students and provided additional funds to support ongoing research within the department.
Soon after graduating college, his entrepreneurial spirit kicked into full gear. After working in the manufacturing industry and purchasing a company's machine shop, Bro. Ralph invented, with a colleague, the first electric deodorizer. In 1948, he and his partners founded Associated Products in Glenshaw, Pa., which distributes commercial deodorizers for use in rest rooms under the Sani-Air product line. The tremendously successful enterprise continued to grow, eventually selling to distributors worldwide.
"We worked hard at it, making quality products that were better than anyone else's," Bro. Ralph said. "I always looked at what the product would do for the customer, not for me. By helping customers, it helped me (succeed in business)."
Today, he is a sophisticated investor who still values honesty and happiness over money. "It's more important to find something you like and pursue it," he said.
Bro. Ralph and Orpah are proud of their four accomplished children: Sally, Linda, Nancy and Jim. Sally is an attorney in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. A CPA by trade, Linda continues her father's successful legacy as president of California Scents, residing in Newport Beach, Calif. Nancy is a dermatologist in Brandon, Fla., whom Bro. Ralph says inherited her mother's devotion to "doing things for others." A very successful professional golfer on the PGA tour, Jim passed away unexpectedly almost five years ago at age 55. His passion for golf obviously was inspired by his parents' love of the game. The Simons also have six grandchildren and a great-grandchild.
A 60-year member of the fraternity, Bro. Ralph received his landmark service emblem from R.W. Grand Master Thomas K. Sturgeon during this year's Florida Masonic Reunions. Influenced to join by his two business partners in a machine shop venture begun soon after completing college, Bro. Ralph said he liked the fraternity immediately.
"I believe in the causes they stand for," he said of Freemasons, which is one reason why he and his wife have supported the Masonic Villages through several generous charitable gift annuities throughout the past eight years. Perhaps the other reason is that Orpah, "a great mother, grandmother and homemaker," according to Bro. Ralph, always thinks of others first, before herself. The library in the Masonic Village at Sewickley recently was dedicated in their honor.
A charitable gift annuity is a benevolent and smart way to support a charity. Charitable gifts of $5,000 and above provide permanent, guaranteed, fixed income at very appealing rates, often 4 - 6 percent higher than CDs, stock dividends or some other common investments.
It's a rewarding type of gift in more ways than one. Gift annuities can offer a guaranteed lifetime income stream for one or two persons. Even better, much of the income is tax-free. Additional benefits include a substantial tax deduction and capital gains tax savings if an appreciated asset is used.
For information on giving to one of the Masonic Charities through a gift annuity, click here.
Brother John Philip Sousa (1854 - 1932)
America's beloved "March King" and Director of the U.S. Marine Band was a member of Hiram Lodge No. 10, Eureka Royal Arch Chapter No. 4, Columbia Knights Templar Commandery No. 2 and Almas Shrine Temple (all of Washington, D.C.). Of his 136 marches - some Masonic - one is "Nobles of the Mystic Shrine." Sousa also made arrangements of all kinds of music. He wrote novels, articles, letters to the editor, and a still-valuable handbook including more original compositions titled, "The Trumpet and the Drum" (1886).
Brother John Philip Sousa now joins Byers' Choice Caroler Figures Brother Benjamin Franklin ($70) and Brother George Washington ($75) available exclusively from the Museum Shop of the Masonic Library & Museum of PA. One can almost hear the swell of band music emanating from him! His cost is $75 plus tax and shipping. Contact Carole Alfe at the shop to order yours today: (800) 336-7317. Also available on our Web site: www.masonicmuseumgifts.com Exclusive limited edition.
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