Irma Wilcox Jones Simon

SOUTH CHINA – Irma Wilcox Jones Simon, 92, passed away from natural causes on Jan. 30, 2021 at the Oak Grove Center in Waterville, with family by her side.

Irma was born on Dec. 3, 1928, in a campus cottage at the (Quaker) Friends’ Central School in Overbrook, Pa. to (Headmaster) Dr. Barclay L. Jones and Esther L. (Coffin) Jones and three older sisters, Louise, Frances and Hoylande.

In the summers, Irma and her parents and sisters vacationed in South China, where a family cottage was built above the shores of China Lake. Here, she fell in love with the lake and time spent with cousins and many Quaker Friends and relatives. Irma always called South China her “home”.

Irma attended Earlham College in Indiana, graduating in 1950 with a bachelor’s degree in biology. There she met Stephen W. Simon, her future husband of 19 years. Upon their divorce in 1971, Irma and her five children moved to Maine to stay. As a “Maine-iac”, she was an assistant teacher at Waterville High School’s Science Department, where she was affectionately known to her students as “Mother Nature”, was involved in a federal program called Project Tree at the elementary school, and for many years passed on her knowledge and love of nature as a volunteer working with counselors and campers at the (Quaker) Friends’ Camp in South China, establishing a pond and the Woods Trail.

Irma also became the first laboratory employee for Northeast Laboratory Services in Winslow, was an Histologist at the former Mid-Maine Medical Center, and an Inorganic Chemist and Bacteriologist in the Department of Environmental Protection lab for the State of Maine, which she loved until her retirement.

As a life-long Quaker, Irma attended her beloved Vassalboro Friends Meeting in East Vassalboro, where she promoted peace-making endeavors. She was a lover of nature, birds and cats and an active member of several national and local environmental and wildlife organizations including the Natural Resources Council of Maine, the Maine Wolf Coalition and the China Lake Association. She was strong willed, never missing an opportunity to express her opinion regarding politics and peace, the environment, and promoting the awareness of climate change. This trait also served her well in overcoming several health crises in her lifetime.

We wish to thank the Oak Grove Center staff who lovingly cared for Irma over the past 12 months, as well as Woodlands Senior Living in Waterville, where she lived the prior year. Thank you also to the Hospice staff who cared for her during her final days. Words cannot express the gratitude we feel for the care she received!

Irma is survived by her five children, Sylvia (Robert) Eppig, Andrew Simon, Peter (Melinda) Simon, Esther (James) Emmert and Emily (Russell) Poulin; as well as 12 grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.

A Celebration of Life will be hosted at a later date in Maine.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her name to either The Vassalboro Friends Meeting, the China Lake Association, or the Natural Resources Council of Maine.

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