Stuart Simen, who oftentimes was seen as cantankerous, ornery, and cane-waving, is remembered by those near and dear to him as a down-to-earth, caring man who always knew where he stood, had an unwavering work ethic, and lived a simple life. His days revolved around a profession that he loved and practiced for over 40 years, and when he took time out to recharge, he would read or enjoy the company of long-time friends, treasuring their outings to local eateries where they shared great conversation and good food. Over the past 10 years, however, he fought a courageous battle. Challenged with increasing physical limitations, multiple medical procedures, and surgeries, Stu persevered and never complained nor — in what turned out to be his last days — let on that he was in great physical pain and terminally ill.
In sharing memories about Stu, his friends and family reminisced that in the mid-1950s, Stu’s family relocated from Chicago to Los Angeles, and during his teens, he trained as a figure skater, qualifying for the 1960 U.S. Olympic Team at Squaw Valley. Unfortunately, Stu broke his leg, and as a consequence, his dreams of skating professionally were never realized.
He attended Marshall High School, Los Angeles City College, and Bryan College of Court Reporting, and after graduation from Bryan – and well before computer-aided transcription — Stu began his freelance reporting career. He eventually opened up his own office and soon thereafter was invited to participate in the beta testing of the very first computers utilized for court reporting. He was a highly sought-after reporter, traveling to the North Sea off Scotland, South Africa, Asia, and Vietnam during the peak of the war. He worked for many local and national politicians, including Henry Kissinger, and reported the testimony of Richard M. Nixon at the President’s Western White House.
Throughout the span of his career, Stu shared his knowledge and experience, lent a helping hand, and mentored new reporters. He served a total of 36 years on the boards of the local associations, Los Angeles Generals (LAGSRA) and its successor, Reporters Association of Southern California (RASCAL), served as the elected legislative representative from LAGSRA to California Court Reporters Association (CCRA) in 1967, and became President of LAGSRA in 1972.
In 1978, he was nominated and selected to be a Fellow of the Academy of Professional Reporters, which is a “professional distinction conferred upon a person of outstanding and extraordinary qualifications in the field of shorthand reporting” for at least 10 years. In 1981, Stu was appointed to NCRA’s Board of the Academy of Professional Reporters where he served six years, and he also served on NCRA’s Speed Contest and Test Advisory Committees. In 1996, Stu was recipient of CCRA’s Distinguished Service Award and was one of the five founders of Political Action California Court Reporters Association.
Stu was very civic-minded, giving of his time and energies to his community at large, an elected member of the Board of Directors of the Neighborhood Council, which included serving 14 years as their Parliamentarian, as well as serving as a board member for his homeowners’ association.
Survived by his brother Bruce and sister Roberta, their loving families, and many dear friends, Stu is now resting in eternal peace.
Jan Garnett Lopez, RPR (Ret.)
West Hills, Calif.