Elizabeth Kennedy Simon-Thomas, 90, passed away Sunday, September 15, at her St. Matthews home in the loving presence of her husband Joe, her children, grandchildren, and caregivers. She was born July 21, 1923, in Jefferson County, Kentucky, the daughter of Hallie Hunsinger Kennedy & Ramsey Jackson Kennedy, Sr. She was a descendent of the Hikes, Hunsinger, & Kennedy families, early settlers of eastern Jefferson County. She was the seventh generation to grow up on the Kennedy-Hunsinger farm on Taylorsville Road.
Elizabeth graduated from Jeffersontown High School in 1941 and from Spencerian Business College in 1943. After school she worked at Time Finance. In 1945, she married Marine Lieutenant Frank E. Simon. Elizabeth devoted her life to raising their four children and helping her husband build the family business, Publishers Printing Company. After her husband's early death in 1990, she continued to assist her sons in running the business. She cared deeply about Publishers' employees and often advocated for them. She was blessed with a joyful second marriage to Joseph Thomas.
Elizabeth was a historian and preservationist. She continued her mother's work to protect Beargrass Creek and to save family farmland from development. Through her research and advocacy, three family homes were placed on the National Historic Register and several old family cemeteries were preserved. Her collections included Kentucky literature, African-American art and craft, and family papers. She was a member of St. Martin of Tours, Little Flock Baptist Church, and the Jeffersontown Current Events Club. She shared her love of learning and enthusiasm for life with everyone she encountered. Her devotion, generosity, and faithfulness to her family and wide circle of friends were legendary.
She was preceded in death by her parents, her brother Ramsey Jackson Kennedy, Jr., her infant sister Louise, and her husband of 45 years, Frank E. Simon. She is survived by her husband Joseph Thomas; her brother-in-law Alfred J. Simon, Jr.; her children Elizabeth Montgomery and her husband Guy, Frances Aprile, Nicholas Simon, and Michael Simon and his wife Debbie; her grandchildren Amy Montgomery, Sara Celello (Dave), Anne Austin (Richard), Timothy Montgomery (Genevieve), Nora Jane Montgomery, Emma Aprile (Andrew Rosenthal), Michael Simon, Jackson Simon, Carolyn Simon, Anna Louise Simon, Nicholas Simon, and Alexander Simon; her great-grandchildren Malcolm and Alexina Rosenthal, Mireia Cecil, Nate and Esme Celello, and Jasper Austin. She is also survived by faithful friends and caretakers, including Nanette Simon, Linda Trautwein, Karen Kerman, Sandy Dockery, Cynthia Harbin, Ashli Hamilton, Cassandra Riles, and Jerry Burton.
Visitation will be at Pearson's Funeral Home, 149 Breckenridge Lane, on Wednesday September 18 and Thursday September 19 from 1-8 pm. Her Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 12 noon, Friday September 20 at St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church, 639 S. Shelby Street, with burial to follow at Cave Hill Cemetery.
Expressions of sympathy may be made to the Ursuline Sisters of Louisville, The Abbey of Gethsemani, or the Bullitt County Public Library.