Lee Simon, retired Rutgers microbiologist and loving father, dies at 84 

Microbiologist Lee D. Simon died peacefully on May 2 at home in Wyncote, Pennsylvania. He was 84.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, on June 22, 1939, he was the son of Harry Simon and Jessica Weiss Simon. He grew up in Lynbrook, Long Island, and graduated from Malvern High School. 

After receiving a bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan University in 1961, he entered a graduate program in biology at the University of Oregon. He earned his doctorate degree in biology in 1966 from the University of Rochester. 

Lee then joined the faculty of the Institute for Cancer Research (now Fox Chase Cancer Center) in Philadelphia as a microbiologist. His specialty was the absorption of T–even phages and the breakdown of proteins in bacterial cells. 

He joined the faculty of the Waksman Institute at Rutgers University in 1976 and was a professor at Rutgers until his retirement in 2010. 

Lee was an accomplished electron microscopist: His iconic image of a bacteriophage infecting a virus is still used in biology textbooks.   

His talents were many. Lee loved music and the arts. He was a proficient pianist, a good cook, and an adept athlete. He passionately followed current events and had a strong commitment to social justice. But more than anything, he loved his family and his cats Lou and Jean.

Lee is survived by his beloved partner Mary Gibson, and his daughters Deirdre Simon of New York City and granddaughter Willa; Hilary Hartman (Eric) of Fort Washington, Pennsylvania; and Julia Simon-Kerr (Florian Ederer) of New Haven Connecticut and granddaughters Clara and Iris Ederer-Kerr. He is also survived by his cousins Szari Bourque of Oakland, Calif., her daughters Haven and  Lauren; and Jessica Slotkin (Chris Donahue) and her children Moria and Charles.  He was predeceased by his brother Michael.

A private gathering to celebrate Lee’s life will be held at a later date. Memorial contributions may be made to the American Diabetes Association.