On Nov. 30, 2019, Heaven gained a “one of a kind” Angel. Donald O. Simmons began his journey home with his family by his side. He was 85 years young.
Don was the youngest of six boys, born Feb. 27, 1934 in Kamiah to Eula and Gustave Simmons. He grew up in Kamiah, attending school and graduating from Kamiah High in 1951.
He married the love of his life, Barbara Hronek, on Feb. 20, 1955. Don and Bobbi met in junior high and Don loved to tell the story of how he would pay Bobbi’s sisters, Bev and Betty, a nickel to let them sit together on the couch.
Don worked at Kamiah Service Station and in the woods for four years after graduation before joining the Army where he served two years in Germany with Bobbi at his side. Don bought Kamiah Dray in the 1950s, hauling lumber and presto logs, and buying and selling hay. Bobbi helped him with this, often driving the truck after learning that bucking bales was no fun.
In 1958 Don attended a City Council meeting where the Council was looking for someone to haul garbage. He took on the task, earning $300 a month and he soon put $50 down and made monthly payments of $50 to purchase his first garbage truck. After 60 years in the business, Don officially retired in 2018.
Don was a member of the Kamiah Volunteer Fire Department, Kamiah Jaycees, American Legion Post #75 (38 years), Kamiah Chamber of Commerce, Kamiah Masonic Lodge #56 (57 years), a Kamiah Kub Booster, and served on the Board of Directors of Burkhart Homes.
During his time with the Chamber, Don served as President and was recognized as Chamber Member of the Year in 1989 and 2001. During his term as President of the Kamiah Jaycees, he received the Senator of Idaho award. Don was instrumental in building the Vo-Tech shop program at Kamiah High School, as well as the wrestling and baseball programs. Don also was one of 10 community members who signed the note to build the Kamiah Clinic. Bobbi and Don were chosen to serve as Grand Marshals for the 68th annual BBQ Days celebration.
Don loved to be “Santa” during the holidays, and you could always find him shopping at Johnson Jewelry or Kamiah True Value on Christmas Eve around 4 p.m.
Don loved sports and was always in the bleachers cheering on his children and later, his grandchildren, at school sporting events.
Don is survived by his children Mike Millage (Jackie), Lori Johnson (Jim), Eddie Simmons (Kim), Dona Stanley (Kevin), and Robert Simmons (Sheila); his grandchildren Cassandra Mann, Drew Johnson (Cassie), Chazz Johnson (Nicole), Kalee Johnson, Ricky Simmons, Nikka Johnson, Kori Robbins, Trevor Robbins, Chad Simmons and Santana Simmons; and great-grandchildren Hadley and Piper Johnson, Cayden and Braxton Johnson, and Amelia Crist, as well as Helen Wilkins, his “Little Sister,” and numerous nieces and nephews.
He also leaves behind his lifelong friends Chuck Doty, Geraldine Bernard, Tim Smith and Lloyd Bidwell and his companion Janice Jones.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Eula and Gustave Simmons, his wife, Barbara Simmons, and his brothers, Ronald, Arnold, Gordon, Norman and Gerald Simmons.
Memorials may be made in Don’s name to the Kamiah Presbyterian Church (to help with the Emergency Feeding Outreach program), P.O. Box 5, Kamiah, ID 83536.
A Celebration of Life is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 14, at 11 a.m. at St. Catherine’s Catholic Church in Kamiah, with a potluck dinner following in the basement.
Trenary Funeral Home of Kooskia is assisting the family.