On May 4, 2021, Walter (Wally) Simonson, 59, passed away in Palm Springs following a sudden stroke. Wally’s bright ray of love, light, and laughter remains with all who knew him. His was a life dedicated to what truly mattered: family, friends, nature, dogs, celebrations, good books, and making the world a better and more sustainable place. Wally lived his life to the fullest and shared his immense love for life and joy with others.

Wally was born in Mt. Clemens, Mich., to Marvin and Mary Simonson. He attended Utica High School in Utica and college at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and University of San Francisco. He moved to the Bay Area in 1985, where he worked for Dow Jones in San Francisco before creating his own company in San Mateo County. He met his life partner and husband, Jerry Gomez, in 1989, and they lived most of their 32 years together in Pacifica.

Wally loved the Coastside, the beautiful Pacific Ocean just blocks from home, the rolling hills, and the informal, friendly lifestyle of its residents. He was active in protecting this special place and involved in many environmental efforts to protect it. Wally helped found the San Gregorio Environmental Resource Center whose mission is to preserve and protect the Coastside’s natural habitats for endangered species. He also served on the Board of the Coastside Habitat Coalition.

Wally regularly served as lead chef for the many banquets and events that raised money for these and other institutions dedicated to protecting and preserving our beautiful coast. He was also active in the Devil’s Slide Tunnel campaign that brought about a more environmentally friendly solution to rerouting Highway 1 through Montara Mountain. From that successful campaign, County voters overwhelmingly approved the Tunnel on Highway 1.

Wally was active in his business and loved working with residents throughout San Mateo County. He enjoyed his visits and time off in the desert, which he also called home, and his many friends in the Palm Springs area. He was always positive and appreciated the lighter side of life. He was keenly sensitive to the needs of others and was a fierce advocate for fairness and equality. He cherished celebrations, particularly where good food, good wine, and costumes were involved. He loved to cook for others with a bend toward his French-Canadian roots and lived the adage that the happiest of times are those spent in the planning of celebration.

Wally is survived by his husband, brothers Steve, Paul, Bill, Bobby (Cupples), and sister Margaret and their loving families and his many friends in the Bay Area and Palm Springs. Memorial services will be announced soon and his life celebrated at a later date. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the San Gregorio Environmental Resource Center: https://sgerc.org/index.html

(0) entries

Sign the guestbook.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

More Stories

  • Updated
  • 0

Robert Joseph Morrow Aug. 25, 1928 – Aug. 12, 2020 Robert passed peacefully at Avalon Care Center, in Sonora, Calif. Robert (Bob) was born in Tewksbury, Mass., to Mary Morrow. When Bob was 2 he was separated from his mother and placed in a Catholic orphanage. His mother was returned to  Irel…

  • Updated
  • 0

On July 10, 2020, Shirley Kirkendall passed away at the age of 91 with family by her side in her Pacifica home, where she lived for 52 years. Being a longtime resident of a small town, Shirley was known by most and loved by many. Her willingness to always stop for a chat could make […]

  • Updated
  • 0

By Jane Northrop Staff Writer Noel Blincoe, 79, an active member of the Pacifica Open Space and Parkland Committee and other local grassroots organizations over the years to preserve open space and habitat, died due to complications from a fall, said his wife, Frances. “It was Sept. 9, the d…

  • Updated
  • 0

Martina Wendy Balen Oct. 3, 1969 – Sept. 8, 2020 With heavy hearts, we announce the unexpected passing of Martina in her home in Pinehurst, Texas. Born in Okinawa to CWO2 William (Bill) and Susanna Balen. She was intelligent, determined, athletic and often stubborn. From an early age, she lo…

  • Updated
  • 0

Patricia (Patt) Jean Bond Fischer, beloved mother, mother-in-law, sister, and friend, left her earthly burdens behind on Sept. 19, 2020; at the age of 86. Born in Nehawka, Nebraska, Patt graduated from Camdenton High School, Missouri, and earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Mis…

  • Updated
  • 0

Leslie Linhares, a resident of South San Francisco passed away peacefully on Sept. 7, 2020, at the age of 90 doing what she loved best, reading a book in her garden.  Leslie was born in San Francisco and raised in Daly City.  She graduated from OPLH ’44 and ICA ’48. She earned her Bachelor’s…

  • Updated
  • 0

The Rev. Thomas Nibbe Sunday, August 30, 2020 @ 11 a.m. Dear God, today we need your help…we need to draw upon your wisdom.  We’re not very patient people.  We always seem to want what we want…and we want it now.  Therefore, we’re willing to take up the task to learn the fine art of […]

  • Updated
  • 0

Rosemarie Wilson Rosemarie Wilson passed away at the age 84 on July 30,2020. She is survived by Eileen Wilkerson (Cliff) of Pacifica, Holly Lessa (Les) of Vacaville, Cori Badertscher (Fred) of American Canyon and Amy Heikura (Jerry) of Mt.Shasta as well as eight grandchildren and six great-g…

  • Updated
  • 0

Barbara Loraine Morrow December 7, 1931 – June 24, 2020 Barbara passed peacefully at Adventist Health Sonora. Born in Flint Michigan, one of three children to Marie Bernice Burgess and Benjamin Burgess. After high school Barbara enlisted in the United States Air Force where she began her mil…

  • Updated
  • 0

Nancy Marie Jensen 1938 – 2020 On Monday, June 22, 2020, Nancy Marie Jensen, loving wife and mother of two children, passed away at age 81 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.  Nancy was born in 1938 in Omaha Nebraska, moved with her family at age 5 to San Francisco and attended Bal…

Recommended for you