Peter Salvatore De Simone (1937 - 2018)

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Obituary

De Simone, Peter Salvatore Peter Salvatore De Simone, age 81, of Jefferson City, died August 30, 2018. He was the Executive Director of a 100+ year social justice advocacy association, the Missouri Association for Social Welfare (MASW, now Empower Missouri) for 25 years until his retirement in 2002. He was a fierce defender of the rights of poor people including prisoners. He was proudest of his agency's contributing role in the establishment of the Missouri Foundation for Health and the Housing Trust Fund. Peter's career started as a civil engineer before joining the Peace Corp and was among the very first volunteers to Tanza- nia in 1961. In his five years' residency in Africa, he learned to love and respect the natural beauty of Africa, it's extraordinary diversity of tribes and cultures, and the inherent strength and determi- nation of African people to succeed. Bearing the same Peace Corps ideology and intention of helping make life better for all people, he worked for Volunteers in Service to America, and then later became the director of MASW in 1977. In 1995, the Ethical Society of St. Louis awarded Peter their Humanist of the Year award for his lifetime of effort in social justice. This award recognized his service since his time with the Peace Corps through his leadership at MASW advocating for improved social policies protecting vulnerable populations. Peter married Patricia Anne Hohlstein, and had three children, Peter Francis, of Kansas City, Dena Louise, of Kansas City, and Nicholas John, of Jefferson City. Family members also include son-in-law John Sextro, originally from St. Louis, daughter-in- law Carrie Burbank, and 6 grandchildren. Peter has spent the last 30 years with his life partner, Mary Schantz, expanding his family to include her three children, Sybil Kelley, Taylor Merrels, and Tina Farrelly and 4 grandchil- dren. Peter was born on June 16, 1937 in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Peter lived a full and happy life. After retirement, he pursued his interests of music, art, traveling, reading, and gardening. Peter lived with Parkinson's disease for over 10 years while continuing to engage in his favorite activities with friends and family until his death. He did not let Parkinson?s lower his spirit and enthusiasm for life. Peter will be remembered with a celebration at a later date. Peter recommended contributions to Friends of Tanzania, PO Box 9123, Arlington, VA, 22219 or Empower MO Endowment Fund, 308 E. High St., Jefferson City, MO, 65101.
Published in St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Sept. 2, 2018
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