Herschel D. Simmons, age 99, was born on New Year’s Eve 1918 in Arlberg (Stone County), Arkansas and died May 14th, 2018 at his home in Leslie, Arkansas. As the youngest child of Dora and Isaac Simmons, he grew up on Angora Mountain and attended school at Angora, Flag and Leslie.
Herschel was a World War II veteran who served his country as an Army Combat Medic in the Pacific Theatre. He received numerous commendations and awards, including two Bronze Stars. After being honorably discharged in 1945 and returning to Leslie, he met Maxine Ashley and they married in 1948. They had been married over 60 years at the time of her death in 2008. Raising cattle and horses on their farm was something Herschel greatly enjoyed, and he would rather cut and bale hay than go on vacation! For several years, Herschel did custom bulldozer work and distributed lime and fertilizer to area farmers. He also owned and operated sawmills in Arkansas, New Mexico, and Colorado. Herschel was a Deputy U.S. Marshal in 1957 during the integration of Little Rock’s Central High School. He began riding horses as a young child, so it was not surprising that he would be among the group of “Ozark Trail Riders” who rode horseback from Searcy County to Little Rock in the early 1950’s, to ride in the Arkansas State Fair Parade. In good fun, Herschel was a member of the Tennessee Squire Association and an “owner” of a plot of land at The Hollow at the Jack Daniel’s Distillery in Lynchburg and an honorary citizen of Moore County, Tennessee. As a Squire, devotees are united in fellowship and invited to “sip” with their discriminating fellow Squires, while remembering their motto, “May we always ride an easy walking horse, sleep `neath a rain tight roof, and eat high on the hog every day of the year.” Herschel was a member of the Leslie United Methodist Church and had served on the Leslie School Board and Searcy County Democratic Committee for several years. Until his health limited his activities, he had been an active member of the community and was always ready to lend a helping hand.
Herschel was preceded in death by an infant son, Benny Wayne Simmons; parents, Dora and Isaac Simmons; brothers, Leonard Simmons, Charlie Simmons, Roy Simmons and Grover Simmons; sisters, Elsie Simmons, Edith Long and Dessie New; and wife, Maxine Simmons. Herschel is survived by his daughter, Rebecca Wilson and husband, Homer; sons, Steve Simmons and wife, Gay, and Mark Simmons and wife, Cathy; grandchildren, Ashley King and husband, Charles, Makenzie Simmons and Reece Simmons; great grandson, Colby King; sister-in-law, Louise (Ashley) Swafford; and extended family of nieces, nephews and cousins.
Funeral services for Herschel will be 10:00 AM Friday, May 18th, 2018 at Leslie United Methodist Church in Leslie, Arkansas with Bro. Mike Proctor officiating. Visitation will be 6:00 till 8:00 PM Thursday, May 17th, 2018 at Roller-Coffman Funeral Home in Marshall, Arkansas. Burial will be in Sulphur Springs Cemetery near Leslie. Pallbearers will be Charles King, Dustin Adams, Glenn Watts, Danny Simmons, Stan Hayes and William Tester. Honorary pallbearers will be Reece Simmons, Colby King, Velorn Simmons, Tommy Gene Simmons, Rex Simmons, Danny Huie, Larry Shannon, Cliff Boyd, and surviving sawmill crew. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials be made to the Searcy County Veterans Memorial Association, 108 Noah Horton Drive, Marshall, Arkansas 72650 or Arkansas Children’s Hospital, 1 Children’s Way, Little Rock, Arkansas 72202.