The Very Reverend Joseph Donald Simon, S.V.D., Provincial Superior of the Southern Province (U.S.A.) of the Society of the Divine Word passed away at Memorial Hospital in Gulfport, Mississippi on July 18, 2007 as a result of complications arising from cancer. He was 75. Joseph Donald Simon was the fifth and youngest child of Charles Simon, Sr. and Marie Ida Simon nee LaCour.  He was born on June 30, 1932 in Natchitoches, Louisiana.  He is survived by a brother Herbert and a sister Doris Ann.  Two brothers, Charles, Jr. and Raymond preceded him in death. After attending grade school at St. Anthony’s Piegay Memorial School, Joseph entered St. Augustine’s Seminary in Bay St. Louis in 1947 and had his secondary education there. In 1952 he began his novitiate in Techny, Illinois and pronounced his first vows as a Divine Word Missionary in 1953. After junior college at St. Paul’s Seminary in Epworth, Iowa from 1953 to 1955, he returned to Bay St. Louis where he studied philosophy and theology at St. Augustine’s Major Seminary.  He was ordained a priest on May 4, 1961 by Archbishop Vignozzi who was at that time the Apostolic Delegate to the United States. Following ordination he studied church history at the Gregorian University in Rome and earned his Licentiate there in 1963.  Returning to Bay St. Louis he taught Church History and Homiletics at St. Augustine’s until he was assigned to the newly opened Divine Word College in Epworth, Iowa in 1966. Besides teaching Church History, Father Simon held various posts such as Director of Development (1975-80), dean of Academic Affairs (1981-87) and most notably President of the College from 1987-93. He was a member of the Board of Trustees of Divine Word College from 1993 until his death. In 1993, Father returned to Bay St. Louis to serve as Director of Development for the Southern Province from 1993-96. He then served as pastor of St. Joseph’s Church in Maurice, Louisiana from 1996-2002.  While pastor he was also a member of the Provincial Council of the Southern Province from 2000-2002. In 2002, Father Simon was elected Provincial Superior of the Southern Province which includes parishes in Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas.  Father also served as a member of the Marriage Tribunals for the Dioceses of Lafayette and Biloxi. Father Simon also held civic offices.  He was Mayor pro tem of Epworth from 1976-85 and served on various State Boards in Eastern Iowa. Visitation will be at St. Augustine Chapel beginning at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, July 23 with a wake-keeping service at 7:30 p.m. Mass of Christian Burial will begin at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, July 24. Burial in St. Augustine’s Cemetery will follow the Mass. Arrangements are by Hartwell Christian Mortuary in Gulfport.  In lieu of flowers donations are preferred to further the mission work of the Divine Word Missionaries.

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