Don Simoneau, George Bunten American Legion Post 10, salutes while Livermore Falls firefighter Scott Shink carries out the striking of the four fives, which indicates the death of a firefighter. It was part of a 9-11 Remembrance program held in Livermore Falls on Sept. 11, 2019. Franklin Journal photo by Pam Harnden

REGION — Donald “Don” Simoneau is being remembered for his service and dedication to fellow veterans and his community.

Simoneau died Feb. 19 following years of declining health. He was a longtime member of George Bunten American Legion Post 10 in Livermore Falls where he held the offices of finance officer, adjutant, and commander.

“Don created and offered the fourth grade Veterans Day Program for 18 years, prior to COVID-19 pandemic and his failing health,” Jocelyn Mosher-Collins wrote in a recent email to the Livermore Falls Advertiser. “Don single handedly gathered the information needed to recreate the Veterans Memorial stone in Union Park, facilitated and hosted fundraisers for the restoration of the canon in Union Park and replacement flags for Main Street in Jay and Livermore Falls. He organized and gathered with other veterans post 9/11 with their flags in recognition of the heroes that perished that day.”

Simoneau was also involved with Sons of American Legion Post 150 and former commander of American Legion Department of Maine.

“Don was an inspiration to many for his dedication to veterans and their families,” Mosher-Collins noted. “He organized or helped so many local veteran and patriotic programs. He will missed.”

For years Simoneau organized the annual POW/MIA Remembrance Day ceremony held in Jay. Jim Manter, adjutant for VFW Post 3335 in Jay stepped in when Simoneau was no longer able to do so.


“No one could take over from Don’s long time involvement in veterans events in the area,” Manter wrote. “For the most part, what Don gave me to preserve was the cemetery flag tradition, of ensuring we get flags and markers out to all local cemeteries in the Jay/Livermore/Livermore Falls area.  He passed on to me his ledger of cemeteries, and some inventories of area veterans buried locally.”

In the Tri-Town area, there are 36 cemeteries with over 1,650 veterans interned in them, Manter noted. “With Patty Knowlton’s help and dedication, we have kept Donnie’s prior organization of this local recognition of our veterans going,” Manter wrote. “Ordering flags, grave markers, and collecting funds from the three towns is no small task. Getting them out to the VFW, Amvets, and American Legion posts is no small order of coordination. Don was a master of this organization.”

Manter never realized how difficult it was to get burial records and notifications to ensure that veterans are properly recognized. “Don mastered that part, ” he noted. “We still struggle with it. The behind the scenes of this task is substantial. Not just ordering flags, but the coordination with local Amvets and Legion to get them out, and then picked up at the same time at the end of the season.”

Missing a veteran’s gravesite, having markers stolen so a veteran’s grave is lost track of, cemetery crews damaging a marker and not replacing it are some ongoing issues Manter pointed out.

“Don was a master at getting all these issues resolved, or barking out orders to all of us to get it fixed,” he noted  “Somehow, Don got all this done, and made our local cemeteries the better for it.”

Manter indicated Simoneau was often abrupt and demanding when it came to veterans’ issue’s in the area.  “But no one can deny the passion he gave to recognize veterans in our community and his efforts to keep veterans’ sacrifices in the view of local citizens of our communities.”


Simoneau was involved with the flag hill display in  Livermore Falls, the group that gathered weekly and waved flags at passersby at the end of Reynolds Ave and Main St. in Livermore Falls [moved from Chisholm Square in Jay for safety precautions], organized Veteran’s Day assemblies at local schools, and lunch with a veteran at local middle schools, Manter wrote.

“These were all events that we take for granted, but were spearheaded by Don,” he noted. “Even with the decline of membership and participation in local veterans organizations, Don’s passion kept these traditions alive. This meant that local veteran’s families not only got to look forward to the simple and small events in the community, but the huge regular opportunity to annually honor their own family’s and community’s veterans.”

Manter recalls one honor given Simoneau when he became homebound. “On Memorial Day two years ago, as our honor guard and firing squad were returning from placing wreaths on local and Fayette memorials, we were to pass by Don’s house,” he wrote. “We spontaneously decided to stop at his house, raise and present honors with the color guard in front of his porch. We had no idea if Don was home or not, or even awake that early in the morning. But we still did it.

“After presenting the colors, we packed up and we left, not knowing if Don witnessed the honors. Later in the week, we got word that Don had missed the flag presentation we gave, as he was still resting. But he did catch glimpse of us as we were packing up. We were all pleased to learn that at least Don recognized that we stopped by that day.”

For veterans in the region, Simoneau was a big inspiration, Rick Merrill, commander of VFW Post 3335 said. “The things that he did for veterans in the community, he gave them all and especially me pride, hope and encouragement.”

A sense of pride was given to families with the flags flown in town and Simoneau making sure flags were put on the gravesites at veterans’ graves, Merrill stated. Mondays when he stood by the catholic church with the flags brought joy to people when he was doing that, he noted. Simoneau’s work in the Legislature on veterans’ issues affected a lot of veterans, he said.


Simoneau was also involved with his community. He helped send area youth to Boys’ State and with the creation of an avenue of flags in Fayette, where he lived.

In his woodworking shop, Simoneau created wooden gavels he then gifted to local leaders. Many a fundraiser was gifted a rolling pin to auction or raffle off. He was known for creating rolling pins featuring more than one type of wood.

In 2021 he made and donated a Buddy Bench for students at Fayette Central School. The bench encourages students to sit together and make new friends.

“I know that he will be deeply missed by all who knew him or came in contact with him,” Merrill added.

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