Sonya Fry Remembers Jacqueline Albert Simon’s Wit and Class

by Sonya Fry

Knowing that Jackie’s health was failing, I called her a few weeks ago and much to my surprise her voice was strong, she knew exactly who I was and we shared and mostly laughed over OPC stories, dramas and people over the years. Her mind was as sharp as ever; as well her wit was intact.

When I was hired by the OPC in the summer of 1994 Jackie along with Elinor Griest and Anita Diamant took me under their wings and helped me navigate the world of journalists. Jackie would often propose a panel discussion on European topics. She would set up the panelist, moderate and generally expose me to how these events worked.

When it came to the Holiday Party Jackie helped with invitations, decorations, hors d’oeuvres. it was a time when the invitation would read “Mr. and Mrs…..are invited.” The terms partner, significant other and a host of other terms were in vogue. Jackie knew that Mr. and Mrs. didn’t always apply, but she didn’t like any of the other terms so, I do believe, if memory serves, she came up with the wording “OPC member and Consort.” It sounded European and classy just like Jackie. Near the end of the party when everyone seemed to be having a good time talking and drinking Pierre Simon tapped me on the shoulder and handed me a glass of bubbly and very graciously said that I had organized a good party. Of course he knew that it was with the help of Jackie, but it made me feel so good to be acknowledged.

In my last call to Jackie I asked how she was feeling and she said “I am checking out, but I am OK with that.” And then she turned the tables and started talking about how I was also a strong woman who experienced many adversities and sorrows. In her dying days she was always caring, generous of heart and a truly amazing woman that I will forever admire.