Ike Simas 91, a lifelong resident of Santa Maria, CA passed away on Dec. 7, 2018 at Marian Extended Care. Ike was born on January 25, 1927 at Santa Maria Hospital. The third generation Santa Marian was the seventh of seven sons born to Joe & Leonora (DeRosa) Simas whom at the time, lived at Fugler's Point in Garey, Ca. Joe was a Dairyman and “Nora” was a housewife.
Ike attended local grammar schools, and graduated from Santa Maria High School, the class of 1945, where he excelled in sports, and was the Lead Male Vocalist in The Men's Glee Club. Ike served overseas in the United States Merchant Marines during World War II, supplying armaments, ammunition and war supplies to strategic positions in the Pacific Theatre.
After being Honorably Discharged from service to his country, he returned home to marry his high school sweetheart, Irene Doris Anderson in 1946. They started a family raising two children…Penny Simas Pastore, and Gary Simas who both reside in Santa Maria. Ike & Irene have four Grandchildren…Michelle Galanski (Ed) of Santa Maria, Nick Pastore of San Diego, Hannah Simas St.John and Tucker Simas St.John of Las Vegas, NV., as well as two Great Grandchildren, Ryan and Gavin Galanski of Santa Maria. Ike had many Nieces and Nephews, and a large extended family in the Santa Maria Valley.
Ike became a member of The Santa Maria Indians Baseball Club under Manager and brother Butch Simas, and as a southpaw pitcher, threw to another brother, his battery mate, Indian's catcher Vern Simas, while hitting a respectable .312 in 1946
Ike owned (with brother Arthur of Los Angeles) and with Irene, operated Simas Smart Shoes in Santa Maria for over 29 years. Customers between L.A. and San Francisco would frequently seek out the unique collection presented at Simas Smart Shoes, and locally, many longtime residents of SLO & Santa Barbara County grew up wearing shoes and handbags from the Santa Maria, and San Luis Obispo locations. During those years, Ike was actively involved with The Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce and was a past President of The Santa Maria Valley Retail Merchants Association.
Besides Baseball and fashion retail, Ike had another passion…Santa Maria Style BBQ! Ike has been BBQing over Red Oak in the Santa Maria tradition for all of his adult life. The local, state and national media recognized Ike as an authority regarding Santa Maria Style BBQ, and since The Santa Maria Chamber of Commerce copyrighted the iconic BBQ style in 1978, Ike was sought after by countless publications and Film & Documentary producers, as a definitive source for their content.
In recent years, Ike was featured in several articles appearing in Sunset Magazine, Automobile Club of America Magazine, 805 Magazine, USA Today, The Washington Post and The Los Angeles Times among other news outlets…including The Santa Maria Times. He has also appeared in the Hollywood film project “Over The Coals” documenting the history & mystique of Santa Maria Style BBQ, and a “how to” start to finish tutorial video produced by Time/Warner Corporation's Oxmoor House division, and filmed at Sunset Magazine's headquarters in Northern California, to promote their perennial…”The Great Outdoors Cookbook” which devoted a large spread complete with photos and recipes touting Santa Maria Style BBQ to the rest of the world.
When Sunset Magazine…often called “The Bible of Western living”…was in the process of moving their world headquarters to a new facility in the bay area, they put together a farewell gathering for their 400 plus staff to say goodbye in style to their longtime iconic Palo Alto location. Having covered great food in their publication for over 100 years, and as food experts, having hundreds of terrific catering options to choose from, they requested that Ike put together one of the top-notch BBQ crews from The Santa Maria Elk's Lodge # 1538, and provide the last meal at this historic function.
With all the attention garnered by SM Style BBQ in the media, there is always one constant when Ike was being interviewed…he never failed to reference and spotlight the significance of the participation…and positive contribution by SM Elk's Lodge #1538 in the growth of the legend that is…Santa Maria Style BBQ.
Ike was an active member of The Santa Maria Elk's Lodge #1538 for 65 years. Upon retiring from the shoe business, Ike became the Club Manager of the lodge facility for nine years, was “Elk of the Year” in 2007, the Elk's “Citizen of the Year” in 2016…and up until 2018, still actively participated in many of the lodge's BBQ efforts. Ike was directly responsible over the years for tens of thousands of people being fed…and hundreds of thousands of pounds of beef & chicken being barbequed. And no matter where the BBQ road took him, Ike was always the gracious ambassador, representing Santa Maria, Elk's Lodge #1538…and barbeque…Santa Maria Style!
With his activities and volunteerism at the lodge, as well as operating his own catering enterprise (initially with Vern & Dorothy Simas, then with Jim & Trina Ericson) called “Santa Maria Style BBQ, Have Pit – Will Travel” for over 56 years, one would think that BBQ was all he ever did. But in the span of his lifetime in the valley, Ike has worked in the oil fields, drove & painted trucks for Engle & Grey, and was a partner for five years in operation of The Valley Farmer restaurant. He enjoyed hunting & fishing and finding time to paint. Whether with compressor & spray gun, or bucket & brush, Ike loved to paint.
He was a lifetime member of The D.E.S. Club honoring his Portuguese heritage, and was the former Treasurer of The Santa Maria Valley Pioneer Association where he also headed up the BBQ crews servicing the Annual Pioneer Picnic for many, many years. He was an avid sports fan, but when it came to sports, he really enjoyed attending his Grandson's games. He could also sit in quieter moments, and listen to his abundance of music from “The Great American Songbook”…or watch his westerns…John Wayne being his favorite.
Wherever he went, or whatever he was doing, he was a constant advocate in support of Santa Maria, The Santa Maria Elk's Lodge #1538, and our way of life…which of course…included BBQ. But as important as these things were to him, and as he proved over most of the last century… the very most important thing to him was family! Whether it was the Santa Maria community…the extended Simas family that he grew up with…the family that he created…or the family that he is a part of at the lodge…family was the true source of his pride! Well…that…and a rod of choice Top Sirloin…sizzling over Red Oak coals!
Ike was preceded in death by the love of his life Irene, his parents Joe & Nora, his brothers and their wives… Melvin & Laura, Elmer & Mary, Isadore & Dorothy, Arthur & Judy, Butch & Nadine and Vern & Dorothy…as well as several Nieces & Nephews.
Ike's family would like to thank Dr. Brian Desmond and his entire staff for their loving care and support, Robert C. Miller of Miller Chiropractic, Dr. William J. Quinones-Baldrich and the irreplaceable Roz @ The Gonda Vascular Center @ UCLA and Judy and Helen from St. Matthews Health Care.
And a special thank you to Gerry & Donna, to L.T. & Carol, Johannah, the entire Old Farts BBQ Crew, and to the Simas clan for your unwavering support.
There will be a Visitation on Thursday Dec. 13, 2018 from 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm @ Dudley-Hoffman Mortuary Chapel…and a Memorial Service on Friday Dec. 14, 2018 @ 11:00 am to be held in The Lodge Room at The Santa Maria Elk's Lodge #1538. A Private burial will follow.
Funeral arrangements by Dudley-Hoffman Mortuary & Crematory (805) 922-8463
To leave a condolence for the family, visit www.dudleyhoffmanmortuary.com
In lieu of flowers… you are invited to donate in Ike's name to any one of the following causes:
Santa Maria Valley Pioneers
P.O. Box 7118 Santa Maria, CA 93456
Saint Joseph High School Scholarship Fund
4120 S. Bradley Road Santa Maria, CA 93455