Myra (Miriam) Simon was born on the 17th of June, 1927 to Eva (ne Berkovici) and Philip Weinberg, in Durban, South Africa. Myra was born in between her two brothers, Norman (1923) and Mark (1931). At the age of six, Myra lost her father Philip, a successful life insurance broker, who perished in a passenger airplane crash. Thereafter, Myra spent most of her childhood living with extended family members and in boarding schools. After matriculating from high school at the age of 16, Myra joined the South African Air Force and served as a meteorologist during World War II. During her service, she accrued much experience in flying the meteorological airplanes. After the war, she enrolled in Medical School at University of the Witwatersrand, during which time she met her soon-to-be husband Smoky (Harold) Simon, also a World War II veteran of the South African Air Force. The couple got married in Johannesburg on the 22nd of April, 1948 and left immediately to volunteer for the nascent Israeli Air Force as it braced for the country’s looming War of Independence. During the war, Myra served as a meteorology instructor for Israel Air Force pilots. She and Smoky stayed on in Israel until 1950, at which time they returned to South Africa with the goal of making Aliya some years later. The couple had four children: Philippa (1951), Saul (1952), Dan (1955) and Alice (1958). In 1962, the family moved to Israel and settled in Herzelia, where Myra and Smoky spent the rest of their entire lives.
Myra devoted much of her time to philanthropic causes, including holding a pro bono position for 27 years at Ichilov Hospital’s Genetics Institute. Though modest, Myra was a towering figure who showered on her family and friends infinite and unconditional love, stability, and strength. She was the family’s unsung hero.
Myra passed away on the 20th of May, 2023, just over a year after the death of her husband Smoky. The couple left in their wake a loving and immensely grateful tribe consisting of four children, fifteen grandchildren and twenty-four great grandchildren.
Myra spoke about her Machal service in the War of Independence in an interview for the film
804: The South African Volunteers in Israel’s War of Independence.