Simon M. Haddad Memorial Fund

Anyone who knew Simon knew his passion for music ran deep. As a young boy in Beirut, Lebanon he learned to play the guitar. In a war-torn country, music provided comfort and a haven for him. In 1974, he and his family were evacuated by the US Navy to the USS Coronado. Evacuees were told they could bring one bag and one bag only. A kind Marine, who also played guitar, allowed Simon to carry his beloved guitar aboard along with one bag of a few key personal possessions.

Simon eventually landed in Harrison, New York, where he lived with his uncle, aunt and two cousins. His love of guitar deepened in America. He continued to hone his skills … much to the dismay of his aunt who endured the same 70’s rock guitar jams over and over and over.

In his early 20’s, Simon married and had a son, Ayrton, who quickly became the center of his life. At that point he took an almost 20-year hiatus from playing guitar.

One day in the 2000’s, while living in Connecticut, he decided to pick up his guitar again. He never looked back. Simon started taking lessons, expanding his repertoire to jazz and blues. He even ventured out of his comfort zone, playing with bands that performed live across Fairfield County, CT and Westchester, NY. As his talents grew, so did his desire to collect guitars – both acoustic and electric. He thoroughly researched each instrument, making sure it had the perfect tone for each kind of music he was playing.

Simon’s love of guitar was evident in every aspect of his life – whether it was playing with a local garage band, jamming alone in his man cave / music room, listening to his favorite musicians play or simply spending time teaching others.

It was that passion to teach and inspire others that we wish to keep alive with a gift of music to The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation. Dollars donated by family and friends in Simon’s memory will help keep music alive in schools that have jazz band programs.