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A life full of love: Family and friends honor DeSimone’s memory

fr desimoneyoungAs family members and friends took turns paying tribute to Ron DeSimone at his memorial mass on Tuesday, one word kept being repeated — love.

DeSimone loved his family, loved building things, loved Maggie Valley and loved helping others. And if he loved something, he nurtured it. Even his final breaths were taken in helping his best friend complete an addition on his home. 

“Though his life was cut short, he did a lot of living in his 62 years,” said Robb DeSimone, Ron’s younger brother. “He was constantly trying to make a difference because he could never be a bystander in life.”

If the attendance at his service is any indication, DeSimone did make a difference in many lives. St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church of Waynesville was full of extended family, neighbors, Maggie Valley residents and business owners, Maggie Valley town staff, elected officials from all of Haywood County’s municipalities, county commissioners and state representatives. 

Sen. Jim Davis, R-Franklin, who worked closely with DeSimone on many local and state issues in the last four years, gave the eulogy. Davis described DeSimone as modest, intelligent, hardworking, honest, determined and honorable.  

“Ron was a man of integrity who was committed to making a difference for his family, for his community and for his state,” he said. “He was able to keep his composure when making difficult decisions. He had integrity and vision — Ron was a leader.”

Family who knew DeSimone prior to his time in Haywood County described a family man who loved his soul mate and wife of 38 years, Joann DeSimone, and their two daughters, Carolyn DeSimone and Jennifer Smith.

Robb DeSimone said no mother should have to bury her child, and never again would he want to hear the blood-curdling screams of his mother’s voice when she called to tell him of his brother’s passing. 

Looking out over the crowded church, Robb said it was clear why his brother loved Maggie Valley so much. 

 “Thank you for all the support you’ve all shown my family,” he said, “I know Ron is up there right now looking down on us, humbled and embarrassed because he was never comfortable with praise.”

Robb encouraged everyone to remember how short life can be — how in the blink of an eye we could all be gone. 

“I know I will strive to be a better citizen … I’m going to listen a little deeper and hug a little longer — and that’s all the tribute Ron would want.”

Following the service, friends and family joined together at the Brannon Forest Clubhouse — the community DeSimone loved — for fellowship together.

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