THE ADVOCATE 443
VOL. 79 PART 3 MAY 2021
Always a sports-lover, the biggest parts for him were the fun and friendships.
Rugby and basketball in high school, junior varsity basketball at UBC
and then varsity rugby at UBC and U of T provided highlights and friends
for a lifetime.
As an aging athlete in his 40s, he and some colleagues took up boxercise
(which they pretended was real boxing). Volunteering for White Collar
Fight Night IV, a charity event for Athletics for Kids, Simon “The Cerebral
Warrior” Coval challenged David “The Fever” McWhinnie. Greatly amused
by the spectacle, the crowd demanded an unscheduled extra round at the
end. Exhausted, Simon beseeched the veteran referee, “How much longer
is this round going to be?” “Just shut up and fight” was the answer. The Cerebral
Warrior retired with a record of 0-1.
At work, Simon found a kindred spirit in Mark Andrews, Q.C. They chatted
daily about work, law, news and sports, and joked about silly things that
somehow both found hilarious. Their families became close friends and
travelled together. On a fishing trip, while Mark was battling the cancer that
took him last year, Simon finally caught his first fish about three days in.
When it hooked, he shouted to Mark who was quite a ways down river.
Somehow struggling to get the three-inch fish out of the water, the line
swung all the way around his head. Mark soon arrived, having trudged all
the way down the river to celebrate this long-awaited event. “Way to go,” he
said, “That’s so great! Good job.” Then a pause, “But did that small fish slap
you in the face?”
“Study without desire spoils the memory, and it retains nothing that it
—Leonardo da Vinci
In 1984, Simon headed to U of T for law school and then returned to his
roots to obtain a Ph.D. in law at Oxford. He taught jurisprudence and wrote
a thesis in political philosophy. In the midst of all this, he returned to Vancouver
for the privilege of clerking for Chief Justice Allan McEachern and
Justice George Cumming at the B.C. Court of Appeal. This was particularly
fortunate for two reasons. First, Chief Justice McEachern steered Simon
towards Russell & DuMoulin. Second, Simon met a fellow law clerk named
Jennifer Fawcus. Jenny’s intelligence, warmth and wit changed his life.
They married in 1993, while Jenny was practising as Crown counsel. As
noted on many occasions, often by his own family, Simon married up.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a