Laurel Jean (Poland) Simon, Indianapolis, born October 21, 1944, died on June 27 surrounded by her loving family and friends. Laurel was the wife of Richard (Dick) L. Simon for almost 48 years. Laurel was the mother of Jennifer L. Kerr (Cary) and Richard (Bud) L. Simon II (Tara); beloved grandmother of Nathanael and Zachary Kerr and Cody, Emma and Kaylee Simon. Laurel was preceded in death by her parents, Laurel (Jiggs) and Helen Poland, and her brother Tom. She will be missed beyond measure by her brothers, David, Jack, Andy, Mike, Pat and Tim Poland; as well as her sister, Nadine Poland Melind and their spouses. She was a loving, kind and generous aunt to her many nieces, nephews, and their children.
Laurel was a graduate of Southport High School. Following graduation, she worked at Eli Lilly, the Catholic Center of the Indianapolis Archdiocese, and the Beech Grove Benedictine Center and Benedict Inn at Our Lady of Grace Monastery. In 1993 she completed the Benedictine Center’s Spiritual Direction Internship and served as a spiritual director for many directees from then until her death. She also served as a supervisor for new interns in the program at the Benedict Inn. Laurel received her Bachelor's (1996) and Master's (1999) degrees from the University of Indianapolis, and used her education to serve others as a spiritual director, art therapist, retreat director, and mentor. She was a deeply devoted spiritual companion to her many directees and to her dearest friends--her Wellspring sisters.
Laurel was a quiet leader. She was instrumental in founding the Indiana region of Spiritual Directors International, and served as its director and as a board member. She worked with the national organization Contemplative Outreach leading Centering Prayer retreats and was influential in bringing their two-year “Living Flame” program to Indianapolis. Laurel ministered as retreat director for directed retreats and art centered retreats in Indiana, Michigan and Ohio.
Laurel had a lifelong love of gardening, flowers, and the beauty of the outdoors. She loved nothing more than a drive with Dick and Schatzi through Brown County, enjoying the scenery, culminating the trip with dinner in Nashville or Bloomington.
Laurel's life will be celebrated at mass on Saturday, July 30, at 10:00 am at St. Pius X Catholic Church in Indianapolis with lunch following at Park Tudor in the Wood Room. In lieu of flowers, Laurel asked that donations be made to the following communities:
Adrian Dominican Sisters
Congregation of St. Joseph
Sisters of St. Benedict
Our Lady of Grace Monastery
Sisters of St. Francis