Hamilton - Alfred Gilbert Simmons, age 92, passed away at home, surrounded by family on November 27, 2017. He was born October 6, 1925 in Corvallis, Montana, the only child of Mason Gilbert Simmons and Irene Butler Simmons. Al had a happy childhood in Corvallis as a farm boy, surrounded by a circle of a large extended family and friends. Many of his childhood companions were lifelong friends, including Jerry Lemon of Corvallis, MT.
Al played the trumpet in the Corvallis school band growing up and was often asked to play at military funerals when he was boy. In 1943, one month after his 18th birthday, Al was drafted, and along with several other boys from the Bitterroot, he decided to join the Navy because, the rumor was, “you always had a dry bed as long as the ship didn’t go down, but in the Army you were in the mud.” Al served for the duration of WWII, a total of 29 months. He spent time in New Caledonia, Guadalcanal, the Russell Islands, Solomon Island the Philippines. When asked what he did in the Navy, Al often answered, “Whatever they told me to do.”
Al married Doris Lynn Huntsman on May 11, 1955. Together they made their home in Hamilton, Montana, raising 5 children and were together until Doris’ death in 1999. Al was a family man and prized his wife and children as his greatest gift from God. Al was an honest hardworking man and never had a day of unemployment in his life. He worked in several grocery stores, for Bernatz Oil, the Hamilton School District and the REA. Al was a skilled woodworker and created many beautiful and useful items for family and friends.
Al remarried Wilma Keely Simmons in 2001 and welcomed and loved her grown children and grandchildren as his own. When Al’s health declined Wilma loved and cared for Al with a tenderness that is greatly appreciated by all his children.
Al believed in serving people and his community. He made friends with people everywhere he went; younger or older, race or religion didn’t matter to him, he believed all were children of God and of equal worth. Al was an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and served in many different capacities throughout his adult life. He also served in the American Legion, Posts 47 and 91. He enjoyed many friendships with the members of the Tired Iron Club and served as the vice president. As a former farm boy, Al’s day was complete when he had an excuse to drive any of his antique Farmall Tractors!
Al is preceded in death by Doris Huntsman Simmons, wife of 44 years and stepson, Allen Keely.
Al is survived by his wife, Wilma Simmons; his children, Elaine (Dennis) Olsen of Astoria, OR, Robert (Elena) Simmons of Youngtown AZ, Eric (Mickie) Simmons of Billings, MT, Keely
Jankunas, Corvallis, MT and Nancy Jorgensen of San Jose, CA; step-daughters, Laura (Clark) Snelgrove, Orem, UT and Linda (David) Allison of Sugar Land, TX; 23 grandchildren and 30 great grandchildren; cousins, Loyce Teller of Clayton, WA and Betsy Ballard of Stevensville, MT.
Funeral services will be held at 1:00 p.m. Friday, December 1st at the Corvallis Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Visitation will be held at 12:00 noon to service time at the Church. Interment will follow at Corvallis Cemetery with Military honors presented by the US Navy and Corvallis American Legion. Condolences may be left for the family at www.dalyleachchapel.com