Necip ‘Nej’ Simer, ‘the Mad Turk,’ proud American, and force to be reckoned with, died peacefully in his Mission Viejo home on January 1, 2013, surrounded by his family. He was 77.
Necip was born March 24, 1935, in Ankara, Turkey, to Talat, a physician and politician, and Muazzez, a mother of six. As a boy, he was known by his middle name, GÃ¶kalp, and grew up literally in the shadow of the new Republic, watching the construction of AtatÃ¼rk’s mausoleum from his window. After serving in the Turkish Air Force, he became a liaison officer between Turkish and American armed forces, which facilitated his move to Southern California in the early 1960s.
Necip was a hard-working businessman and consummate networker. He got his start working for a Hilton hotel and an LAX air cargo firm. He founded a number of import-export companies and a retail store, Turkish Bazaar, in Westchester. In the 1970’s, he began working in sales for Telecredit, and left the company ten years later as Western Regional Vice President. For the rest of his career he was an independent consultant. He spoke a dozen languages if only enough to break the ice and his unorthodox use of the English language earned laughs while giving speeches as president of the Santa Ana Rotary Club (1974-78). He also served the board of the Bowers Museum (1980-83) and was a Freemason. Generous with compliments, gifts, and wisecracks, he made an impression wherever he went.
Naturalized as a U.S. citizen in 1967, Necip always maintained an international outlook. He was active in the Turkish-American community, and in 1982 he accompanied the body of Consul-General Kemal Arikan to Turkey after his assassination in Los Angeles. Necip fostered commercial and cultural relationships between groups in the U.S. and worldwide, including China, South Korea, and the Middle East.As a result, he proudly received an honorary PhD from the California State Christian University in 2003.
He loved his family dearly. In 1968 he married Elaine, with whom he had three children. He faithfully visited his daughter Derya at Fairview Development Center in Costa Mesa, for three decades. In 1989, he met Judy, who became the love of his life. They married aboard the Queen Mary in 1995, and remained together the rest of his days. He is also survived by his siblings BÃ¼lent and Ayhan of Ankara; his children Derya Elizabeth of Costa Mesa, Jeremy Orhan of Portland, Oregon, and Suzan Kathleen of Barcelona, Spain; three stepsons, Ritchie, Damon, and Kristofer; four daughters-in-law, and seven grandchildren. His family will always remember the mischievous twinkle in his eye and the flair with which he lived and loved, perhaps summed up by his favorite song, Sinatra’s ‘My Way.’
At his request, no funeral will be held. Memorials are encouraged on this website, and donations are welcome to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, www.pdf.org ; the Diabetes Action Research and Education Foundation, www.diabetesaction.org ; or Fairview Families and Friends, Inc., www.fairviewfamiliesandfriends.org.