It is with a heavy heart we share our co-founder Bill Simon has passed away after battling cancer. During this time of mourning, our prayers are with Bill’s wife Sally, their five adult children and one grandson, along with his parents Frederick L. and Norma Jean Simon, three brothers, one sister, and a large extended family. Bill was an incredible father, husband, grandfather, son, brother and friend. He had an amazing passion for his family, Catholic faith, and for Freddy’s and all its team members.
Bill credited much of his professional success to his father, Freddy, who encouraged him at an early age to pursue his entrepreneurial interests by mowing yards and gardening, and manufacturing and selling landscaping fixtures. Bill touched many lives throughout his business and professional career. After receiving an accounting degree from Kansas State University, he returned to Wichita and worked for a national CPA firm. Not long after, Bill’s love of the restaurant industry was ignited while working as Vice-President of Finance for a Pizza Hut franchisee. Following that success, he rose quickly through the ranks of a Rent-A-Center franchise group and was a partner when their 120 stores sold to the franchisor. Following this success, Bill redirected his focus and agreed to an interim president position at the helm of Wichita’s innovative Center Industries—a branch of the Cerebral Palsy Research Foundation (CPRF). Bill continued his support of CPRF as a board member for the organization and he also served on the Advisory Board of the Wichita State University Center for Entrepreneurship and generously gave his time and resources to many charitable organizations.
In 2002, Bill founded Freddy’s along with his brother, Randy, father Freddy, and friend and business partner, Scott Redler. Bill was instrumental in creating the culture within our Freddy’s family and growing the concept from a single 2,400 square foot restaurant to a nationwide chain. He led the company through unparalleled growth with a steady vision, and encouraged everyone he encountered to maximize their potential.
“Handshakes, smiles, facial expressions and especially Freddy Hugs make it simple to express sincerity that cannot be mistaken.”
“Continue to bring smiles to others…and to rekindle the inner spirits of those with whom you interact.”
~ Bill Simon
“Bill’s deep and enduring love of family was expressed in time spent together at the lake, hunting trips at the family farm, dancing the night away on special occasions, and finding connections in everyday moments. He was an accomplished water skier, enjoyed snow skiing and playing golf with his friends, brothers, and, more recently, his son Jake. It was important to him that each Freddy’s restaurant provide a space for families to gather during life’s moments both big and small, and where friends connect, all over a meal that fills the stomach and satisfies the soul. The warm and inviting energy of each Freddy’s restaurant will carry Bill’s legacy forward.”
~ Randy Simon, Co-Founder & CFO of Freddy’s, Bill’s brother
“In 1996, a mutual friend introduced me to Bill. Our friendship grew and we started Timberline Steakhouse & Grill. So many times, over the last two decades, I’ve witnessed Bill’s business acumen and calm approach work to steady the unavoidable waves of uncertainty in business and identify winning solutions for everyone involved. Bill, Randy, Freddy and I started Freddy’s with a passion to serve. We agreed then, and have since maintained, that treating guests with unmatched hospitality and respecting the hard work of the team was our recipe for success. Bill will truly be missed. We will work diligently to carry forward his legacy.”
~ Scott Redler, Co-Founder & COO of Freddy’s