Gerald Simmons

August 8, 1944 ~ December 27, 2010

Dr. Gerald Simmons, EDD, 66, of Moss Bluff, LA, passed away peacefully at 3:20 PM on Monday, December 27, 2010 at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital surrounded by his family and friends.

Dr. Simmons was born August 8, 1944 in Lake Charles, LA, where he lived all of his life. He was a 1962 Graduate of LaGrange Senior High and graduated from McNeese State University with his degree in education. He also received a Master's degree from McNeese and later received his Doctorate in Education in 1997 from NOVA University. He started his teaching career at W.W. Lewis Middle School in 1967, moving to Reynaud Middle School from 1968 to 1969, and then to LaGrange Junior High from 1969 to 1974. He worked as principal at Kaufman Elementary from 1974 to 1983, moving on to open Gillis Elementary where he was principal from 1983 to 1986 and finally transferring to Henry Heights Elementary in 1986, where he retired in 1999. Dr. Simmons was instrumental in bringing the CODOFIL French Immersion Program to Gillis and Henry Heights Elementary Schools. He was a long time member of Phi Delta Kappa Fraternity and in 1995 he received the Calcasieu Parish Reading Council State Principal of the Year Award. Dr. Simmons was also a member of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. He will always be remembered as an educator, but most importantly as a loving husband, father and poppy.

Dr. Simmons is survived by his wife, Susan Bertrand Simmons of Moss Bluff; daughter, Laura Landry and husband Shannon of Lacassine; son, Steven Simmons and wife Annette of Lake Charles; grandchildren, Gerald Joseph Landry and Elizabeth Landry; siblings, Kathy Clark and husband Buz of Sulphur, Judy Simmons of Natchitoches, LA, Jeanette Stockman of Lake Charles, and Vernon Simmons of Oregon; close friends, John Moore and Odell Dyer, both of Lake Charles; Godchild, Tracie Wilfer of Lake Charles; and numerous nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Andrew and Irma Dyer Simmons; and best friend, Richard "Butch" Roberts.

His funeral service will be at 10:00 AM on Friday, December 31, 2010 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. Father Charles McMillin will officiate. Burial will follow in Highland Memory Gardens. Visitation will be at Johnson Funeral Home on Thursday from 3:00 PM to 10:00 PM with a rosary at 6:00 PM. Visitation will continue at the funeral home on Friday from 8:00 AM to 9:30 AM.

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Memories Timeline


  1. How can a daughter put into words how much she is going to miss her Daddy's voice, the feel of his hand holding hers, the sound of his laugh, or the wisdom in his advice? I am at a loss to do these things, so I will just express my thanks to everyone who has supported us through this difficult time and tell you that we appreciate the calls, cards, visits, food, and flowers so much.

  2. I haven't seen Gerald since high school, but he has been in my thoughts many times. We lived near each other and rode the same school bus. We were on the second load from LaGrange to Oak Park, so we would walk to a little store near the school and stock up on enough Tootsie-Pops for the ride home every day. He went to BR on the bus with me one time and we double dated: he with my cousin and me with the lady I married 44 years ago.I am glad he went on to higher education and became a real success in the educational field. Sad for his family who will miss him very much.

  3. Mr. Simmons was my favorite teacher!!! I was in his History class at LaGrange and it was fun and exciting! We loved his jokes! Years later I went to him at Henry Heights because I wanted my daughter to go there. He talked me into putting her in French Immersion in Kindergarten, and that was the best decision ever! She went all 13 years in French Immersion and started McNeese at the top of her class. She will make a career choice based on French! It's all his fault! lol I loved Mr. Simmons and hope the family and friends hearts heal quickly, while cherishing wonderful memories.

  4. Mr. Simmons was my history teacher at LaGrange Jr. when I was in the 7th grade. I am 53 yrs now and I have always remembered him as one of the best teachers I ever had.My condolences.

  5. Ms Susan, I can not begin to tell you how much I will miss my debates with Mr. Gerald. All of us at the center send our thoughts and prayer for you and your family during your time of loss.

  6. My deepest sympathy to the family! I remember Mr. Simmons as one of the best teachers I ever had the pleasure of knowing! I was one of his students at LaGrange Jr., and if I remember correctly his class was La. History…..he was so vibrant and infectious he kept everyone's attention! He was a great teacher, and wonderful human being! Rest in Peace with the Lord Our Savior!

  7. My prayers and condolences go out to the family of Dr Gerald Simmons. What a special, sweet and fair man! He was the Best Principal that M J Kaufman ever had. It was my pleasure to have this wonderful man help guide my children through their first years of school. May he Rest In Peace!


  9. My prayers go out to your family at the time of you loss.From what I've read it was time for him to be in a better place.Mr. Simmons was my Homeroom and English Teacher at LaGrange Junior High.He was the best teacher I ever had.He made learning so much fun.Thanks Mr. Simmons for touch my life.You will be missed by many.God Bless,Peace and all my Love Thomas Sonnier

  10. No more Dialysis, no more bleeding, no more shots,and no more walker… you're free now! Run, with all your heart, RUN! You can eat all the gold-brick sundae's and moon-pies you want now! Yeah, yeah.. cheesecake too! I can't imagine you and Butch healthy, and free to do… especially without Mom and Penny their to stop y'all from getting into trouble! I'm sure God has had to put you two in timeout already!I love you, Dad! I'm happy you will never suffer with sickness and pain,again! Sorry!!!Love, your son.. Steve

  11. One cannot put on to words the sympathy I have for the whole that you have in your hearts. However, when I think back about Mr. Simmons – there is many a smile that comes to my face. In 1992, he gave a new teacher a chance, just off of word of mouth. He called and offered me the job, and I accepted. When I showed up, I informed him that he was my principal at MJ Kaufman from K-3 before we my family moved to DeRidder. From that moment on,he took me under his wings, and boy did he spoil me. He believed in me when I needed to be believed in. He supported my program and let me tape trash bags on the floor and sit children in the hall to complete art. The art would stay there all day and at the end, of it I would pick it all up and prepare for the next day. He let me have an art show even though we got in trouble with the fire marshall. He made sure I had all the supplies I needed to have a top of the line program. He had a vision, and it was one for the children. I will never forget that at the end of my first year teaching – I cried! I cried b/c I didn't want it to end and I credit that to the positive experience he allowed me to have. He made first and lasting impressions on me and my belief in the educational system. I continue to be at Henry Heights – 18 years later now in an administrative role. I hope he is looking down with a smile, and knows how much I appreciate the fact that he gave a girl a chance to prove herself.

  12. Poppy was a wonderful person, a great husband, a terrific father, and a caring, loving grandfather. He was so special to everyone. When you met him, you couldn't help but love him. I will always remember him. I will think of sitting on his lap and him telling me stories about the old days. I love you,Poppy!! I will always be Poppy's Princess!!

  13. Susan and Family:So sorry to hear of your loss. I know Gerald is in a much better place now. You will be in my prayers. Love Cindy

  14. Susan, Laura and Steven,You have my condolences. Just know that even in your great loss, you can forever hold dear fond memories of husband and father close to your heart.

  15. Susan,and children,my deepest condolences to you also to Kathy and Judy.Steven what you said about Dad in time out I know is true,because now its him and AuntOma together.And OH LORD watch out.I feel the same about the pain for both of them,because they are now free……What a loss but also how lucky can a person be to have had them in our lifes.Everyday I'm thankful.I'm sorry that our lifes have pulled us from each other but I have wonderful memories of all of us together.Take Care all of you.And we all love you.From Gwen and all of Aunt Oma's Family.

  16. There is a path in life that each of us must follow. I'll always be grateful that one of my detours ended up at Henry Heights – my first experience as a School Librarian with Gerald Simmons as my Principal. I commuted from Lake Arthur, arriving early to pull duty and staying till 5:00 pm for extended-day.I met Laura as a student teacher at HHE and Steve came from his school daily to ride home with his Dad. Later, when Steve married my hair dresser's daughter (Annette) our paths crossed again.Gerald always had time for children. Often he sat with a child (arm around their shoulder) on the hallway wooden bench to discuss a problem. He spoke with a gentle voice, not a harsh one. In the end, he reached down to their height and offered a big hug – success.I had many projects that year. Gerald always offered support, praise, and thanks for my efforts. Once, after a blow-out, I arrived late and Mr. Simmons was pulling my duty and had a genuine concern for my welfare. There were days he didn't feel well and had a patch over his eye, but he was there. Parental involvement was wonderful, inter-school competition existed, and test scores had to be high. Faculty Meetings focused on school improvement. I, too, enjoyed Nicole Foreman's Art Exhibits. Years later, I'd return after school hours to photograph the wonderful HHE student art work. At years end, Jeff Davis Parish offered me a position closer to home. I told Gerald I was leaving. He was sad and tried to convince me to stay. I am forever grateful to Gerald Simmons for believing in me and offering me that library position.I ended my 36-year teaching career in Jeff Davis and often think back to the wonderful friends I met at HHE. Susan and I shared our mutual feelings at Gerald's Wake. I can see him in Heaven sitting on a Park Bench gathering the little children around him. God bless You, Gerald Simmons. You made a difference in the lives of many — including mine.

  17. To all of you we send our deepest sympathy. I had spoke with Gerald when I called to tell him about dad passing away. He never made mention of being sick. We talked about getting together,and keeping in touch. He even called Laura and found out how close she and I lived and that our husbands were kin. Wow, a blow when I found out he had left this earth. My heart hurts for each of you as we just went through the same thing. There are no words to tell you that it is easier. I will leave you with the thought my grandbaby saidhe hasn't died just went away a little while. Love to all of you. The Marvin Simmons'Family

  18. Who you were to me… A wonderful Uncle, cherished son, loving husband, adored brother and fabulous father. We will miss your wittiness, love and most of all simply your being. Although you have moved on to a better life, we will never let go of the memory of your jokes, smile and love. You were a great uncle to me and my cousins, a loving husband to Aunt Susan and the best brother a woman could ask for to my mother and for that I thank you. You will be missed by many, but never forgoteen. For the memories will be tucked away into a special place in our hearts and your name etched there forever…. I know you were welcomed into Heaven by a multitude of people just waiting to wrap their arms around you!! Til we meet again… I love you…

  19. You are so right Stevenno more suffering and he can eat whatever he wants. Unfortunately, I have not seen Mr. Simmons since I visited him in Houston after his kidney transplant however, I have talked to him on the phone many times for hours at a time. Even though, I know we never really lost contact I am so sorry that I didnt take the time to go and visit him like he asked me to each time we talked. I worked beside him as his secretary for 10 years and I have to say that he was a person who made a big impact on my life. He taught me so much and I will forever be grateful to him for that. He was not only a boss but a friend that I will miss greatly. He was also a principal and friend to my own children. He was an AWESOME principal and even though some people might have had problems with things he may have done He always put the children first. He loved them and was so compassionate to them. I never saw him discipline a child without getting down on his knee and hugging them, wiping their tears away if they cried and talked to them about their choice and the consequence. I will never forget the day he told me something that has stuck with me and will forever. We are here to meet the needs of these children. They are not here to meet our needs. He was not only a great educator, principal and friend to many but also a man who loved his wife, children, grandchildren and God and made that known. He was truly a family man and supported families. I said my goodbyes on Sunday night and now may you dance on the streets of Gold with your friend whom you missed so much. And, God Bless your family and may he comfort them during this time until they meet up with you again..

  20. I am so sorry. I had no idea Mr. Simmons had passed. He was the principal of Henry Heights when I was there (1997-88 to 1992-93). I loved him lots. I hope he and my parents are visiting up there in heaven.

  21. I came across this obituary for my cousin by accident.  My brother Maurice and I were just talking about Gerald and Judy.  I am so very to have learned too late to offer proper condolences and please know that Gerald was always such a nice person as a boy and he grew into a very kind and caring man.  I know he will be missed.

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