BOSSIER CITY, La. - Richard M. Simmons passed from this earthly life Sunday, March 24, 2013. He was a beloved husband, father, grandfather and friend. He passed away peacefully surrounded by his family.
Richard was born Nov. 21, 1921, in Jamestown, N.Y., to Willis and Ella Simmons. He is preceded in death by his wife of 65 years, Janet; his son, David; his parents; and brother and sister. He is survived by his children: Kathi Thompson and husband, Rocky, Jennie Parrish and husband, Ben, and their children: Marc, Richie and Hannah, Donald Simmons and wife, Lisa, and their children: Rachael, Ansley and Reed, Jeff Simmons and wife, Connie, and his daughter, Danielle Larned, Richard Simmons Jr. and his partner, Jeannie Wells.
Lt. Col. Simmons entered the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1943 as a second lieutenant, and was assigned as a bombardier/navigator flying B-24's out of Italy and North Africa during World War II. He flew numerous combat missions and unfortunately, on his second to the last mission, he was shot down and spent 13 months in Stalag I as a POW until the war ended. Once the war ended, he re-turned to the states and married his childhood sweetheart, Janet McGee, and started their life outside the military in James-town, N.Y. After five years out of the military, the call to serve was too strong and Richard re-entered the U.S. Air Force as a captain in 1950 flying B-29's. Over the next 20 years, he accumulated over 10,000 hours flying B-29's, B-47's and B-52's in Strategic Air Command. Richard and Janet retired from the Air Force in 1969 and settled their family in Bossier City, La., where they spent the next 44 years.
A funeral Mass will be held at 2 p.m., Wednesday, March 27, at St. Jude's Catholic Church in Bossier City, La., officiated by Father Pike Thomas. Inurnment will follow at Hill Crest Memorial Park. The family will be receiving visitors at the church from 1-2 p.m.
The family would like to express their gratitude to all of their father's caregivers, especially Cheri Eldridge and the late Miriam Higginbotham, for the love and compassion that they shared with Richard over the past few years.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Volunteer Services Overton Brooks VA Medical Center; or the charity of your choice.
You may share your memories with the family by visiting www.hillcrestmemorialfh.com.