Lillian Anita Bamberger Simonson

Honored by:Michael and Margaret Simonson
Brick location:O:9  map

Lillian Anita Bamberger Simonson (Bambi) was born in New York City in 1923 and died in Fort Dodge, Iowa, in 1986. She was raised in lower Manhattan, New York City. She joined the United States Marine Corps Women’s Reserve in 1943. She met her husband, LeRoy (Swede), while both were serving in the Marine Corps. In 1945 after her honorable discharge from the Marines as a corporal, she moved to a rural farm in northwest Iowa. She and her baby boy, Mike, who was born in 1945, lived on the farm with her husband’s parents and his seven brothers and sisters until Swede returned from the South Pacific at the conclusion of World War II.

In 1946, Swede and Bambi moved to Ames where they lived in Pammel Court while Swede finished his degree in Agricultural Engineering at Iowa State. After he graduated, they eventually moved to Fort Dodge, Iowa, where LeRoy served as a teacher and school administrator. Bambi worked in a bank, a law firm and ultimately at Iowa Lutheran Hospital. In 1952 her second son, Don, was born – Don Simonson is currently chair of the Department of Music and Theatre at Iowa State University and his wife Gaye serves as executive assistant to the dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Michael is married to Margaret Simonson. They live in Cooper City, Florida, where Margaret is an elementary school library media specialist and Mike is a professor of instructional technology and distance education.

Lillian Anita Bamberger Simonson is a heroine for many reasons – she raised her younger sister and older brother after her mother died when she was 12. She served honorably in the U.S. Marine Corps at a time when women almost never served in the military. She left her home in New York City and moved to rural Iowa where she raised a family. She was a valued employee with many friends. She always expected the best from her husband LeRoy and her sons Mike and Don. She epitomizes the hard-working, self-reliant, and loving woman her friends and family loved to call Bambi and her children loved to call mom; and she never lost her New York accent.

August 2018