Friday, September 18, 2009

IndyStar article about Melvin's funeral

Below is the IndyStar article about Melvin's funeral.

Powerful friends bid goodbye to Simon
By Will Higgins
Posted: September 18, 2009

12:50 -- 'My Way' ends funeral service

Two thousand mourners packed the synagogue for the hour-long service, after which shopping mall developer Melvin Simon's casket was wheeled out with Sinatra's "My Way" playing again.

Simon the founder of Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group died Wednesday. He was 82.

Simon became one of the most powerful businessmen in Indianapolis as his firm grew to dominate the shopping mall industry. He was a co-owner of the Indiana Pacers.

President Clinton was among the speakers at Congregation Beth-El Zedeck, 600 W. 70th St.

Clinton called Simon, a good friend, "one of the most remarkable people I've met."

"He made a lot of money," Clinton said, "but he didn't sit on it. He shared it."

Clinton recalled Simon's playful and competitive sides as well, telling a story of how he was playing golf on Simon's home course one day, and the host took great pleasure when Clinton started struggling. Simon went so far as to graciously offer his guest some new clubs, Clinton recounted to smiles.

Clinton's vice president, Al Gore, also attended the funeral.

Simon was an important contributor to Democratic candidates.

Larry Bird, who worked for Simon as president of the Indiana Pacers, took his place in the synagogue. Also joining the mourners were retired Pacers All-Star Reggie Miller and Sidney Taurel, former chairman of Eli Lilly and Co.

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, his wife Winnie; Sen. Evan Bayh, his wife Susan; and NBA commissioner David Stern also attended.

Before the service, Melvin Simon’s brother and business partner, Herb Simon, greeted mourners who arrived early outside in the sunshine.
EARLIER -- Big names expected at Simon's funeral

Celebrities, sports figures and government leaders are expected to attend today's funeral for Mel Simon.

Former Vice President Al Gore and NBA Commissioner David Stern are among the guests expected at the funeral for Simon, the shopping mall developer and co-owner of the Indiana Pacers.

Simon, who died Wednesday after a battle with pancreatic cancer, was 82.

Services will begin at 11 a.m. at Congregation Beth-El Zedeck, 600 W. 70th St. The funeral will be followed by a private interment.

Others expected to attend are Pacers President Larry Bird; former players Quinn Buckner, Mel Daniels and Reggie Miller; current player Danny Granger; U.S. Sen. Evan Bayh; Gov. Mitch Daniels; Mayor Greg Ballard; and former Mayor Bart Peterson, according to a Simon spokesman.

Memorial contributions may be made to the St. Vincent Foundation, 8402 Harcourt Road, Suite 210, Indianapolis, IN 46260, for the Joshua Max Simon Primary Care Center.

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