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Gilbert John Simmons

Gilbert John Simmons, 88, of Siloam Springs, Arkansas passed away Thursday, August 12, 2021 at the Earlene Howard Hospice House of Springdale, Arkansas.


Gilbert was born December 9, 1932 in Brooklyn, New York to William Simmons and Pearl Warren-Simmons. On March 25, 1972, he married the love of his life, Judith in Olympia, Washington. He taught many years at Olympia High School and went on to retire from teaching at Watts High School. In his retiree time, he lived out his dream of becoming a farmer. Judy and him started their own peach and apple orchard on their land. Gilbert also had a big heart for the local stray cats.


He is survived by his wife, Judy of the home; 2 sons, Gilly Simmons of Tacoma, WA. And Jack Simmons of Portland, OR; 1 daughter, Lenora Horton of Tacoma, WA; 1 brother, Ed Simmons of Long Island, NY; 4 grandchildren; his 16 cats; numerous friends; and many other loved ones.


The visitation for Gilbert will be held Monday, August 16, 2021 from 4:00pm-7:00pm at the Backstrom-Pyeatte Funeral Home of Siloam Springs, AR. A private burial will be held at Weddington Cemetery.

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Mr. Simmons was such a kind, gentle and understanding teacher. I have many good memories of his German and Spanish classes. He not only taught languages, he taught the cultures as well. I use what I learned from him to this day. My condolences to his family.

Twila Stokes Maloney Aug 16 2021 12:00 AM

Mr. Simmons was such a great teacher. I started my first year of Spanish with him in 8th grade, the 1987-1988 school year. My love and appreciation for the Spanish language started with the first thing I ever learned in his class:
Te quiero how
Mas que ayer
Pero no tattoos
Como manana

Which means:
I love you today
More than yesterday
But not as much
As tomorrow

I transferred to Siloam school the next year, and furthered my education there. Spanish was my minor in college as well. Years later, I was asked to teach a beginner's Spanish class at a local vo-tech in one of their Adult education classes. I modeled my teaching after his. Thirty-four years later...I still remember that first textbook: "Churros y Chocolate". Reading Mr. Simmons' obituary only makes me wish I had known more about him and his personal life. I've said it a million times...teachers are heroes. Thank you for sharing your husband, and your father with me. My love for Spanish will always be attributed to him. You all are in my thoughts. Thank you Mr. Simmons for the education.

Jeremy Kelly Aug 14 2021 12:00 AM

I had the joy of working with Gilbert at Watts School. He was an exceptional foreign language teacher, especially Russian. My son majored in Russian Studies and swears Gilbert beat the professors at OSU and Indiana U. I had a happy surprise recently when he knocked on my door here in Watts and we had the most joyful visit reliving many memories of co-sponsoring classes and dealing with kids we taught. I found his military experiences so interesting and we spoke of Korea. He was there during war times, I during peace but still an unsettled place. I applaud this well lived life! You, his children, have a legacy to live up to. I extend my sympathy to Judy and his children and their families.

Phyllis Hagan Aug 13 2021 12:00 AM