Two things mattered more than anything else to lifelong New Bedford resident Edward Simas: His family and his cars.
“Ed,” who was a Vietnam War veteran, met his wife, Maria, when they were both children; Simas would keep his cars in Maria’s father’s garage … when he was just 11 years old. Together, they enjoyed more than 50 years of marriage and raised two children, Lori and Michael, born 16 years apart.
“I’m blessed to have the father I had,” Lori said. “He was the monarch of the family. He did everything for everybody.”
Known for his math skills and his ability to fix anything, Ed was a go-to call if your car broke down. He became an avid car collector, rebuilding and restoring antiques. The pride of his collection was a 1939 Sedan Delivery he built himself, but his collection included several vintage Corvettes, T-Birds and Camaros. His wife still drives a Mustang.
Every weekend Ed and Maria could be found enjoying long drives to swap meets, gathering with car clubs (he was a member of the Whaling City Corvette Club and the Downshifters Car Club), or going dancing at the VFW.
Edward lived his entire life in the city, apart from his time in Turkey as a staff sergeant in the Air Force from 1967 to 1971, leaving home months after graduating from New Bedford High in 1967. When he returned from overseas, he settled in the West End and was a congregant at Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception for many years. He spent 35 years as manager at Stillwater Fasteners before retiring in 2016.
“He helped out everyone,” Lori said. “He knew a little bit of everything. Anything that breaks he could fix. He was good with math and numbers, and fixing things with his hands. He was a reliable, good-hearted person.”
When he wasn’t working on cars or attending car shows, Edward spent his retirement with his eight grandchildren and walking his dog, Simba, a poodle mix, who had the difficult job of replacing Simas’ longtime companion poodle, Lucky.
Edward’s health took a turn in December of 2019, when a valve in his heart became infected. He was sent to St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Boston for a procedure and was scheduled for surgery on May 8. But he never made it to the operating room.
He caught COVID-19, and the night before he was set to go under the knife, Lori spoke to him on Facetime for the last time. “I had a bad feeling,” she said. “He waved goodbye and said he loved me.”
Edward Simas died at age 70 on May 8, 2020.
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