Donzi Marine VP dies at age 39

SARASOTA, Fla. – Stephen I. Simon, Donzi Marine vice president of sales and development, has died at the age of 39. Funeral services were held October 29 for Simon in Sarasota Fla., the company reported in a statement this morning.

Attended by an estimated 500 people consisting of family, friends, APBA members and racing teams, the funeral was a sad event for Donzi Marine going into the Fort Lauderdale Boat show, stated the company

Born in Los Angeles, Calif. on May 30, 1964, Simon was attracted to and involved in powerboating and racing from the age of five. He passionately pursued his dream of designing and producing the fastest powerboats in the world and finally accomplished that goal just days before his untimely death, according to the company.

It was this love of power boating that made Simon so well liked and respected among the boat racing circuits from California to the APBA Offshore Powerboat Racing Association. Learning from his hands-on experience both working on the boats and sitting in the driver’s seat, Simon was responsible for some of the most innovative construction and design developments in the industry, stated the company.

Challenged by Donzi CEO Lee Kimmel to "…restore Donzi’s rightful place in the heart of the racing world," Simon was finally offered the chance to let his talent and love for racing fully shine, the company reported. The result was the creation of Donzi Custom and Racing, the refinement of the stepped-hull design and Z-Tech Construction.

Simon was to learn all that he could about designing, building and running offshore racing boats and translate it into a semi-custom stock ZR Series of offshore powerboats. The goal had just been realized for him with the upcoming introduction of the 38ZR at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show and his string of APBA wins, reported the company.

Simon’s accomplishments include the APBA Western Divisional Championships in 1991, 1992, 1993, and 1994; the 2002 APBA National Championship F2 Division and the 2003 APBA National Championship in the Super-Vee Division, according to the company.

He was a charter member of Southern California Offshore Powerboat Elite, a member of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Association, American Powerboat Association and National Marine Manufacturers Association.

He is survived by his wife, Dustin, parents Barney Simon and Shelly Herrera, and sisters Stacy Soyak and Stephanie Fisher.

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