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Abraham Shimmon


1923 - 2019 Obituary Condolences
Abraham Shimmon Obituary
Abraham John Shimmon

May 12, 1923 – December 25, 2018

Abraham John Shimmon passed away on December 25, 2018. He was 95 years old, and died of natural causes in his sleep.

John was best known for his charismatic personality, optimistic outlook, his active involvement in California politics, and his dedication to community organizations. He earned the respect of his peers and built many lasting friendships through his honesty, sincerity, gentle humor, and generous heart. He devoted his life to promoting positive change for all. He stood proud of his heritage, service to our country, and his career, friendships, and family. John always had a wonderful story for each. He was universally seen as an affable, good-natured, optimistic, loyal colleague, club member, and friend. On the back of his business card, he enthusiastically shared with others his favorite poem that began "Look to this day/For it is life, the very life of life," summarizing his buoyant philosophy.

John was born May 12, 1923 in the Fillmore District of San Francisco to Assyrian immigrants from Persia. Industrious and dutiful from early childhood, John helped his family during the Great Depression delivering newspapers for The Call-Bulletin for $15 per month. Following graduation from Polytechnic High School in 1941, he worked in the San Francisco shipyards as a coppersmith helper making submarine pipes which led to his lifelong hobby of working with tools.

In December 1942, John was drafted at the age of 19 and left home for the first time. He served in the United States Army until 1946 as a corporal radar technician of the 168th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Gun Battalion. Stationed in the Admiralty Islands, New Guinea, his role was to identify enemy planes. He contributed to the liberation of the Philippines when he landed on Leyte Island and shot down 35 enemy planes. John was always a true patriot and was extremely proud of serving his country. He received many ribbons and medals, including two bronze stars for his heroic service in a combat zone. In 2004, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi honored John at the grand opening of the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.

John received his degree from San Francisco State University in business administration with honors in 1948—while driving a mail truck 30 hours each week. In 1949, John began his long career with the California State Board of Equalization. In 1972, he was appointed Assistant to Honorable George R. Reilly, Board Member of the California State Board of Equalization, and later promoted to Deputy, overseeing a district of six million residents. He was praised by Reilly: "You are now such an integral part of my office that it is difficult to envision the administration of the First District without you." John meritoriously served the Board for 37 years until 1986, and was recognized for his steadfast commitment to the morale and well being of his fellow employees and to the welfare of Californians. In 2003, the Governor of California appointed John to the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board.

In John's service to his country in war and commitment to ministering to his local community, he embodied what came to be known as "the greatest generation." Outgoing, charismatic, and kind-hearted to strangers and friends alike, he was an active member throughout his life of many organizations, including Secretary-Treasurer of the Calamari Club where he wrote the weekly bulletin and handled all finances; Secretary of the Irish-Israeli-Italian (Triple I) Society; President of the Godfathers Club; President of the California Association of State Auditors; Commander of his American Legion post; and Treasurer and Lifetime Elder of First United Presbyterian Church of San Francisco. In December 2018, Judge Quentin Kopp, Triple I Society co-president, honored club secretary John Shimmon with the Triple I Lifetime Achievement Award: "In his 63 years with the Triple I, Abraham John Shimmon has never missed a meeting and has served with generosity, kindness and love."

Always good with facts and figures, John proposed to Jeanne Arsanis exactly one year from their first date at the stroke of midnight on October 12, 1952. They married in 1953 at the Palace Hotel and raised two sons, David and Steven. He was a loving father who enjoyed taking his sons to San Francisco Giants and 49ers games, having family dinners at Westlake Joe's, and initiating home projects. He was passionate about trains, first travelling on them as a child to Turlock, and later choosing a home across the street from the Caltrain tracks in Millbrae. He loved westerns, especially the books of Louis L'Amour and his favorite movie High Noon. Late in his life, he discovered true joy in his beloved canine companions: Buddy, Jack, and Monte.

John was proud of his Assyrian heritage and modeled for his family a strong moral foundation—never swearing, always truthful, and deeply committed to helping others. He had a wonderful sense of humor, often telling jokes; a congenial personality, sharing anecdotes with strangers; and always obliging to relatives, friends, and neighbors. In 1974, John remarried and spent 16 loving years with Emily Shimmon, always tending to her.

All who were honored to have known and loved him will dearly miss John. He is survived by his two sons David and Steven, his daughter-in-law Mary Beth (David); his two grandchildren Alison and David Jr.; stepdaughters Arlene and Patricia; and step-grandchildren Brad and Laura.

Memorial services and internment, including military honors, will be held at Golden Gate National Cemetery in San Bruno, California on Thursday, January 17, 2019 at 10 a.m.

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Published in San Francisco Chronicle from Jan. 13 to Jan. 15, 2019
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