Kehilat Middlesbrough Newsletter No 12 November 2001 page 2
Lionel Simons, former Jewish Chronicle correspondent for Middlesbrough, died on August 5th 2001 after a mercifully short illness.
He was born and brought up in Sheffield. He was top of Sheffield in the 11+ and later obtained a free scholarship to read Chemistry at Sheffield University. He couldn’t take this up because of family circumstances but, throughout his life, he always valued education.
During the War, Lionel served in the RAF and at the end of the War, he was stationed in Germany, near Belsen, where he volunteered to work with Lady Rothschild on the register of Jews, matching relatives released from the camps.
In 1941, Lionel had been stationed with the RAF near York, and he met Kay Niman, of Middlesbrough, who was there teaching evacuated children. They fell in love, married and became life-long partners.
After the War, the family moved to Middlesbrough, and from 1948, until he was in his mid-80’s, he had a tailoring business in Hartlepool, where he was an active member of the business community; he was very well-known and greatly respected.
Lionel’s sincere love of Judaism was always paramount. He was for many years Hon. Secretary of the Middlesbrough Hebrew Congregation and a trustee, and served the community well. He shouldered the responsibility for the Chevra Kadisha (of which he was the President during the closing years) in a dwindling community, and when the Middlesbrough synagogue finally closed recently, it was a proud moment for Lionel to hand over the Jewish Ex-servicemen’s banner to the Mayor of Middlesbrough, to be displayed at the local museum.
Lionel had a great personality and loved to talk, joke and reminisce. We all feel he still had a great many stories to tell.
Above all, he loved his family: his wife Kay, his daughter Hélène (Adam) and son-in-law, Edward and his three grandchildren, of whom he was so proud.
At the funeral (conducted by Dr Alan Unterman, minister of the Yeshurun Hebrew Congregation of Manchester), Mr John Bloom, former President of the Middlesbrough Shool, gave an address, in which he stated that “to the very end Lionel retained his faculties and was always prepared to express his opinions in a forthright manner and stick to his principles”.