William Alfred Simmons Jr.

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I served in the Navy.

William Alfred Simmons Jr.I am a Veteran.

of Greenbrier, AR

June 16, 1936 - December 11, 2023

William A. Simmons Jr, age 87, passed away on December 11, 2023 in Conway, Arkansas. Bill was the only child of the late William Alfred Simmons and Janie (Jackson) and was born on June 16, 1936 in Wilson, North Carolina. After losing both his parents at a very young age, Bill was raised by his Aunt Annie Scott in Greenville, NC with his cousins Paul Alton Jr. and Jack. After his Aunt Annie passed, Bill lived with his Aunt Willie Whitehurst in Elizabeth City, NC where he graduated high school and became an Eagle Scout with Bronze Palm. Everyone knew him as Bill, a builder and doer who loved his wife and family.

Bill received an appointment to the Naval Academy in Annapolis and was commissioned into the Navy Civil Engineer Corps upon his graduation in 1958. Bill then earned a Bachelor of Civil Engineering degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a Master of Civil Engineering from Stanford University. Bill served 23 years in the Navy as a 'Seabee', building bridges, housing and more. For his service in Vietnam, where he served with MCB-71 and MCB-53, Bill was awarded the Bronze Star with Combat V, the Navy Achievement Medal with Combat V and the Combat Action Ribbon. Bill was later the commanding officer for MCB-1, serving Guam and Cuba, before being honorably discharged as a Commander. Bill would embody the Seabee motto 'Can Do!' for the rest of his life.

After retiring from the Navy, Bill chose a second career in public service, eventually serving the town of Sanford, Florida, first as a city engineer and later as city manager. While living in Sanford in 1988, Bill became a member of the Rotary Club of Sanford and he would stay involved with Rotary until shortly before his death. Bill was passionate about 'Service Above Self' and raising money for the Rotary Foundation and its causes, including protecting children from polio. For his work with Rotary, Bill was recognized as a Paul Harris Fellow and a Rotary Foundation Benefactor.

Upon retirement from Sanford in 1998, Bill relocated to Greenbriar, Arkansas. During retirement, Bill's commitment to service grew. He transferred to the Conway Noon Rotary Club, where he would later serve in multiple positions, including president. Bill would go on to serve as the Rotary District Governor for District 6170. Bill was actively engaged in Faulkner County Master Gardeners for over 20 years. Bill loved working in his yard, caring for his family and his neighbors and fixing things whenever they broke. Bill was a member of the Springhill Baptist Church, where he was baptized.

Bill is survived by his wife of 39 years, Elizabeth A. Robinette (Gregory); his daughters from his marriage with S. Gale, Sandra Simmons Baird (David) and Kristen Simmons both of Boston, MA and his step-children, Johnson Gregory (Sheila) of Hartsville, TN, Amy (Gregory) Townsend and Ann Gregory (Vose) Johnson both of Stuttgart, AR. His grandchildren include Lillia and JJ Baird; his step-grandchildren are Adam Townsend, Lacey Gregory (Mitch) and Wesley, Alex and Taylor Vose and his step great-grandchildren are Jayden Townsend and Huck and Indie Gregory.

The funeral will be a private ceremony at Oak Grove Cemetery, Conway, AR with only close family members present. To honor his memory, donations may be made to Bill's favorite charities: The Rotary Foundation, 14280 Collections Center Drive, Chicago, IL 60693; Alzheimer's Disease Research, BrightFocus Foundation, 22512 Gateway Center Drive, Clarksburg, MD 20871 or Springhill Baptist Church, 25 State Hwy 287, Greenbrier, AR 72058.

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4 Condolence(s)
Diane Crews
Lake Mary, FL
Saturday, January 6, 2024

I had the great pleasure of working for Bill when he served as the City Manager of the City of Sanford, Florida. My brother, Rick Holloway, also worked for him at the City in the engineering department. Bill was a great mentor for Rick and we both thought so highly of him. As city engineer and city manager, Bill exemplified the highest standards of leadership and was truly committed to service! RIP Mr. Simmons.

Bill DeVore
Thursday, December 21, 2023

Elizabeth, so sorry to learn of Bill's passing. I knew him as a true gentleman, a good leader, and friend. He will be missed.

Finley Barbara M.
Fordyce, AR
Thursday, December 14, 2023

Bill exemplified the true meaning of a Rotarian. District 6170 will be forever grateful for his commitment to Rotary and our district. He will be missed indeed.
Barbara M. Finley, PDG 6170

Jack Rueter
Hot Springs Village, AR
Thursday, December 14, 2023

We stand along side of Bill's family in mourning the loss. Bill is one of those Rotarians that will never be replaced.