Richard Alan Simonson age 66, of Paradise Valley, died Sept. 13, 2018, after a courageous and valiant battle of over two years with pancreatic cancer, which had metastasized into his brain and spinal column. At the time of his passing, he was resting comfortably and peacefully at Hospice of the Valley Eckstein Center, surrounded by his loving brother Michael and Michael’s wife, Cynthia.
Richard was born May 30, 1952, in the Borough of Franklin, Sussex County, New Jersey, making him the younger of the sons of the late Robert “Bob” Simonson (d. 2002) and the late Eleanor “Elly” Simonson (d. 2016). Richard was referred to by his mother for 64 years as “my little Ricky,” by his brother as “Ricky” and by college friends at the University of Arizona as “Boomer.” Richard attended the Franklin public schools through his freshman year of high school, where he was active in band as a trumpeter and drummer. Beginning sophomore year, he attended Blair Academy, Blairstown, New Jersey (Go Bucs!), where he was also active in band and a tenor vocalist in choir/glee club. Richard graduated in the class of ‘70 and immediately matriculated into the University of Arizona (Bear Down! Go ‘Cats!) for summer session, to get physics “out of the way.” Richard also played drums and sang in rock ’n’ roll bands, particularly his favorites, all Elvis Presley and Neil Diamond songs.
Upon graduation, Richard attended law school at the South Texas College of Law (STCL), Houston, Texas. During his law school career, he won the prestigious Nathan Burkan Memorial (writing) competition in copyright/entertainment law.
After graduation, Richard accepted a position as one of the first two law clerks to then-newly appointed Federal District Court Judge Valdemar Cordova, where his outstanding writing skills could be put to optimal use. Richard practiced primarily as a sole practitioner in personal injury law, but later became a CAA (public defender) in the City of Phoenix Municipal Court system. Beginning in 1992, Richard began phasing out of the practice of law, to become the third generation in the family real estate ownership/management business. He remained in this position the rest of his life. Richard was a very compassionate, gentle, kind, laid-back, nonviolent soul, who scrupulously avoided confrontational or adversarial situations. Richard and his brother are avid sports fans and were season ticket owners to the AZ Diamondbacks and frequently attended University of Arizona men’s basketball games, bothhome and away.
Richard was pre-deceased by his father, Robert, and his mother, Eleanor. He is survived by his brother Michael (Cynthia) and his adoring nephew, Paul, and niece, Tova Sara, who he regarded as his own children in every way, and numerous friends. Richard was interred at Beth El Cemetery, 2300 W. Van Buren St., Phoenix, AZ, within steps of his parents, on Sept. 14, in a private ceremony. The entire Simonson family thanks all the RNs, CNAs, volunteers and Dr. Paul Stander at Hospice of the Valley Eckstein Center, for their exemplary caring, compassionate, considerate, kind and understanding care of Richard.
Contributions in his memory can be made to Hospice of the Valley Eckstein Center (Scottsdale), The Musical Instrument Museum (Phoenix), Phoenix Herpetological Society (Scottsdale) or Chabad of Scottsdale. Arrangements by Sinai Mortuary.