On Feb. 24, Frederick L. “Freddy” Simon celebrated his 95th birthday and Ascension Via Christi celebrated him by naming an Ascension Via Christi St. Joseph conference room after him.
The event was attended by Freddy and his family, Via Christi Foundation board members, hospital leaders and associates, and Sisters Anne Dolores LaPlante and Mary Catherine Sack, both of the Congregation of St. Joseph.
Attendees were treated to Freddy's frozen custard before a brief program and blessing of the conference room and the man for whom it was named.
"Freddy Simon epitomizes what it means to be a servant leader," says David Alexander, president of the Via Christi Foundation. "He and his family have done so much to strengthen Catholic healthcare and our mission of ensuring that everyone has access to the care they need."
Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers, the Original Bread Company, and the Simon family have been long-time donors to the Via Christi Foundation. The Simon family partnered in the 2016 Project Renewal campaign, which refurbished areas at Ascension Via Christi St. Joseph, which overlooks the backyard of the home where Freddy and his wife, Norma Jean, raised their six children.
Freddy has served on the Via Christi Foundation Charity Classic Golf Tournament board since the 1980s and his participation in the tournament became an annual highlight for his five sons, who rotated to fill an available spot on their father’s team. Since 2015, Freddy has served as honorary chairman of the Charity Classic Golf Tournament and Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers has been its presenting sponsor ever since.
His son, Randy, serves on the Via Christi Foundation Board, and his daughter-in-law, Sally, has served on the board of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals at Ascension Via Christi. In 2019, the Simon family received a Spirit of Philanthropy Award for Outstanding Philanthropic Partner from the Via Christi Philanthropy Society.
Freddy grew up on a farm near Colwich, Kansas. His Dad owned Angus Beef cows and growing up, his family would have steakburgers on Saturday evenings. During World War II, Freddy enlisted in the U.S. Army and received a Purple Heart for injuries he sustained and a Bronze Star for valor.
After the war, Freddy returned to Wichita and attended Wichita State University, where he earned a degree in accounting. He joined a wholesale liquor company shortly after prohibition in Kansas was repealed and worked there for 56 years.
Please join us in celebrating a man who, along with his family, continues to help make Wichita a great place to work, live and raise a family.