Behner Funeral Home & Crematory
Gerald "Bruce" Simmons
(December 16, 1936 - July 17, 2012)
Gerald Bruce Simmons, 75, of 1385 Nipa Boulevard, Fairfield, IA passed away on July 17, 2012, at his family home after an eight year bout with cancer. Bruce was born on December 16, 1936 in Fairfield, IA, to James H. (Jay) Simmons and Eva Lauder Simmons. He graduated from Pleasant Plain High School in 1954. He married Patricia Echelberry on December 1, 1956 in Memphis, Missouri.
Bruce was a farmer his entire life. The family farm was established by his grandfather, Samuel Clemons Simmons in 1899. He also planted native seedlings as a private contractor through his business ConServe with his grandson Dakota Simmons. He seeded more than 5,000 acres in the Jefferson County area over the course of the last 15 years. Bruce worked for American Chain and Cable Company from 1956 to 1970 when he quit, devoting his time to farming and to his family.
Bruce was a dedicated educator for the Batterers’ Education Program through the Eighth Judicial District, teaching classes in Fairfield, Ottumwa, Knoxville, Washington, Oskaloosa, Albia, and Centerville from 1992 until his death. Bruce and Patsy were also instrumental in providing a home for over 40 teenaged foster children for more than 15 years.
Bruce’s passion for helping others was illustrated most fully in his dedication to Alcoholics Anonymous as an active member for more than 24 years.
Bruce is survived by his wife, Patricia, sons Brian Simmons and wife Cassandre of Fairfield, Craig Simmons and wife Judy of Birmingham, and Jim Simmons and wife Trina of Libertyville, and daughter Deb Simmons Buckingham and husband Roger of Brighton. Also surviving are his grandchildren: Shelly Decker of Central City; Jamie Simmons and Keegan Buckingham, both of Chicago, IL; Jeremy Simmons and Hailey Patrick Simmons of Fairfield; Kipp Buckingham of Tucson, Az.; Shelbie Simmons of Birmingham; Dakota and Sierra Simmons of Libertyville; and Grace and Quinn Buckingham of Brighton. In addition, two great grandchildren survive: Amber and Brett Decker.
Bruce was preceded in death by his parents, Jay and Eva Simmons and two infant children, Larry and Kathleen, and daughter-in-law Jennifer Simmons.
Visitation will be on Thursday, July 19 at the Behner Funeral Home in Fairfield, IA, from 6 to 8 p.m. Funeral services will be 10:00 a.m. Friday, July 20 at the Victory Fellowship Church in Brighton, IA, with Rev. Andrew Zuehlke officiating. Burial will be at Antioch Cemetary after the funeral. Lunch will be served at Victory Fellowship Church following.
Pall bearers will be Jamie, Jeremy, Dakota, and Shelbie Simmons, and Keegan and Kipp Buckingham.
Memorials can be made to the Salvation Army, Women’s Crisis Center and Women’s Shelter of Ottumwa, or Half The Sky Foundation.