Re­mem­ber­ing a pre­cious life of faith, learn­ing and teach­ing

Cherokee County Herald - - FRONT PAGE -

Long­time ed­u­ca­tor Ethel Sim­mons dies on April 2 at age 97.

“You ex­pand your world through learn­ing- the more you learn about a wide va­ri­ety of sub­jects, the bet­ter off you will be.”

That was the phi­los­o­phy of long-time Cherokee County Ed­u­ca­tor Ethel Sim­mons who died Sun­day, April 2.

Ethel H. Sim­mons, ac­cord­ing to bi­o­graph­i­cal in­for­ma­tion, was born to Joe and Laura Berry Har­d­away on Aug. 27, 1919, in Mont­gomery County, Alabama, where she spent her early years.

Fol­low­ing her grad­u­a­tion from Booker T. Washington High School, she con­tin­ued her ed­u­ca­tion at Alabama State Univer­sity earn­ing two aca­demic de­grees with prepa­ra­tion in El­e­men­tary and Sec­ondary Ed­u­ca­tion and Li­brary Sci­ence in 1944 and 1950 re­spec­tively. Her teach­ing ca­reer be­gan prior to her earn­ing the B. S. de­gree. She started teach­ing in Dale County in 1939. Af­ter four years, she ac­cepted a higher po­si­tion as prin­ci­pal/ teacher in Shelby County be­gin­ning in 1944 and con­tin­ued un­til 1948.

Be­ing drawn to the Cherokee County Board of Ed­u­ca­tion, she ac­cepted the po­si­tion of teacher/ li­brar­ian and re­mained from 1948 un­til she re­tired in 1986, hav­ing taught at Hatcher High School and Cedar Bluff High School.

With an in­nate love of learn­ing and an ea­ger­ness to share that love with oth­ers, teach­ing was a nat­u­ral for Ethel H. Sim­mons, ac­cord­ing to some of those who knew her best. As a teacher, she was su­perla­tive, re­ceiv­ing nu­mer­ous nom­i­na­tions and recog­ni­tions as “Teacher of the Year,” and in 1993 was rec­og­nized as the Cherokee County “Woman of the Year.” She served as a mem­ber of the County Fam­ily and Com­mu­nity Ed­u­ca­tion As­so­ci­a­tion and was elected vice pres­i­dent and pres­i­dent-elect of the Re­tired Teach­ers As­so­ci­a­tion in 1994.

Her com­mu­nity in­volve­ment in­cluded county or­ga­nizer of the P.T.A., Wor­thy Ma­tron of Or­der of the Eastern Star, Sec­re­tary of the Civic League, Trea­surer of the NAACP, Pres­i­dent of the Pro­gres­sive Women’s Guild, and an ac­tive and of­fice mem­ber of the Alabama Demo­cratic Con­fer­ence.

Al­though she grew up in the Coles Chapel Bap­tist Church in Mont­gomery where she was very ac­tive as a youth and as an adult, she be­came a com­mit­ted mem­ber of St. Mary United Methodist in 1968.

In her lo­cal church, she served faith­fully as Lay Leader, fi­nan­cial sec­re­tary, Chair­per­son on Ed­u­ca­tion, Sun­day School teacher, pi­anist for the Adult Choir, and Vice Pres­i­dent of United Methodist Women.

On the District level, she served as sec­re­tary, Sup­port­ive Com­mu­nity Co­or­di­na­tor, Pres­i­dent of the United Methodist women, Sec­re­tary for the Coun­cil on Min­istries, and Par­lia­men­tar­ian for United Methodist Women. On the Con­fer­ence level, she also served as a mem­ber of the Ex­ec­u­tive Com­mit­tee for the Coun­cil on Min­istries and as Sec­re­tary for the Board of Global Min­istries.

Ethel Sim­mons’ Chris­tian faith was an in­te­gral part of her life.

She fought through var­i­ous daunt­ing cir­cum­stances dur­ing her life­time, but over­came them with re­mark­able grace and re­solve.

She never wa­vered from her con­vic­tion that God was in con­trol and that He would be with her, and He was.

She was pre­ceded in death by her par­ents, her hus­band Leon Sim­mons, her sis­ter Pat­sie H. Allen, and her brother Joe Har­d­away Jr. She is sur­vived by her lov­ing fam­ily — Bar­bara Anne, daugh­ter and her hus­band James Moody; their chil­dren, Jamie, James Leonidas (Jen­nifer),and Jean; great- grand­son James Lewis Moody, all of San An­to­nio, Texas; niece, Bar­bara Jo Lane and her hus­band Moses;their chil­dren, An­janette Lane, Moses Lane, Jr., DaQuan­dra Lane, Ken­dra Lane, and An­drea Lane, all of Mont­gomery, Alabama.

Ser­vices were Satur­day, April 8, in St. Mary’s United Methodist Church with Perry Fu­neral Home di­rect­ing.

In­ter­ment fol­lowed at Cherokee Mem­ory Gar­dens.

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