October 6, 2020 – The Nevada County Fairgrounds Board of Directors recently inducted Dr. Simi Lyss into the Nevada County Fairgrounds Hall of Fame. The Board recognized Lyss as the 2020 Hall of Fame inductee for his longtime service and commitment to the Nevada County Fairgrounds.
Simi first became involved with the Fairgrounds as a volunteer with the Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum Club, where he assisted the group in renovating their displays and expanding their youth outreach program. During that time, he began attending Fairgrounds Board meetings and was ultimately appointed by the Governor to serve as a member of the Nevada County Fairgrounds Board of Directors. He went on to serve on the Board for 14 years, where he worked tirelessly on behalf of the Fairgrounds. He was instrumental in the formation of the Nevada County Fairgrounds Foundation, which continues to serve a vital role in supporting and improving the health and beauty of the Fairgrounds and fostering projects that develop local youth in agriculture. As a nature supporter, he also initiated and funded the tree reforestation program at the Fairgrounds.
“Simi’s commitment to serve the Fairgrounds and the community has proven to be valuable and noteworthy,” said Jeanette Royal, president of the Fairgrounds Board of Directors. “His extensive executive experience and financial background have greatly benefitted the Board, and we are so thankful for his years of selfless commitment and professionalism.”
Simi is a Board-certified dermatologist who retired from active practice in 1999. Working roles included Senior Vice President for Health Affairs and Chief Medical Officer for Health Partners of the Southeast; Regional Medical Director of Kaiser Permanente, Northeast Region; Chief of Staff of Kaiser Foundation Hospital; and Physician-in-Chief of The Permanente Medical Group in Walnut Creek, CA. Following retirement, Simi served as the Interim Chief Medical Officer of the Western Medical Clinic, as well as President of the Kellermann Foundation.
He graduated with a Doctor of Medicine from the University of California, San Francisco and is American Board of Dermatology certified. He also received a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley; and he is a graduate of the School of Business Executive Program at Stanford University. Simi is a 1953 graduate of Nevada Union High School. He is married to wife Cookie, and together they have three children and two grandchildren.
As for the Fairgrounds, Simi says “I have so many fond memories at the Fairgrounds –from operating the push truck with my son, Rob, at the weekly races, visiting the carnival area during high school, and even helping a friend show a steer. But, by far, my fondest memories are of the people – some of whom have become my dearest friends – I’ve met along the way.”
Of being inducted into the Hall of Fame, “I was totally surprised and am honored,” said Simi. “I believe the Nevada County Fairgrounds is a community treasure. There is no other place like the Fairgrounds that serves as such a valuable resource while also bringing the community together to laugh and celebrate, and I’m so proud to be part of their story.”
Simi was inducted into the Hall of Fame via Zoom at a September Board of Director’s meeting, with several friends and family in attendance to express their congratulations and appreciation for Simi. He received a portrait donated by Shaffers Originals of Grass Valley.