Harriet Traub (Traub) Simon

March 8, 1923 ~ December 11, 2020 (age 97)


Harriet Traub Simon


Harriet Traub Simon, whose magnificent wooded gardens were visited by hundreds over more than half a century, died peacefully on December 11, 2020.  She was 97.  As a young adult, Harriet attended the Harvard-Radcliffe Program of Business Administration.  She was among the first women to receive a Harvard MBA degree.  In 1947, at the age of 24, she married David Simon, a colleague at Harvard who became a successful businessman.  Several years later they moved into their white brick home in Shaker Heights, Ohio. Together they travelled the world, reaching every continent, and collecting artwork along the way.  Harriet’s deepest passion was nature and gardening.  One of the most exquisite gardens in the Cleveland area, a quiet gem, was in her own backyard, which included a sprawling lawn succeeded by a large forest filling the lot behind.  Over more than 50 years, the area evolved and blossomed into a wondrous, magical retreat, with winding paths leading through the woods, passing by grand sculptures designed by local artists, and guiding one into a series of magnificent tableaus:  a profusion of blue and green hyacinth, a bog saturated with Jack in the Pulpits, a Japanese-inspired dry river, a grouping of rhododendron spilling outward, multi-colored patchworks of Astilbe flower sprays.  For decades, she was a Trustee of the Cleveland Botanical Garden, where she was actively involved.  Glamorous and aristocratic in appearance, Harriet was always elegantly dressed.  She hosted magnificent gatherings in her home.  In her younger years, Harriet and David held regular bridge games, and evenings of dance lessons.  Later in life, she loved to host garden parties.  People imbibed wine and cocktails as they wandered through the garden paths in her back yard, followed by sit-down dinners that culminated in dessert served on Tiger-face-shaped plates. She will be remembered for her enthusiasm for the world’s beauty, both far away, and close to home. Harriet is survived by her two daughters: Martha Hale and Kay Simon.  Her husband, David Simon, died in 2014.   

Friends who wish may contribute to the Cleveland Botanical Gardens, 11030 East Blvd, Cleveland, OH 44106.


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