Henry Jacob Simmons passed away peacefully at home in the care of his devoted son, Roger, and his beloved grandchildren, Kelsey and Jacob, on Sept. 20, 2019. Henry was 95.
Henry was born Jan. 8, 1924, in Clinton. He was the son of Theodore (Teddy) and Esther Simmons. Henry and his brothers, Melvin and Gordon, grew up on their parents’ farm enjoying the beauty and freedoms of the early days on Whidbey Island.
Henry’s Grandparents were charter members of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church. He attended the Deer Lake Elementary school and remembered watching as it burned to the ground. After graduation from Langley High School, Henry graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in accounting. He worked for Western Bowling as an accountant until purchasing his own bowling alley, Green Lake Bowl. Henry ran the bowling alley until his retirement in 1979. In 1943, Henry enlisted in the Army. He served in the 168th Engineering Combat Battalion. Henry was proud in saying that he pulled a bulldozer all the way across France. However, it was a welcome relief when his commander needed a truck driver. Most of the young men were from cities and had no idea how to drive a truck. Having lived on a farm, driving was no problem for Henry. He got the job and the days of walking miles and miles were over.
Returning from the war, Henry married Ozella Eastman in 1947. They made their home in Lake City, north of Seattle. Henry and Oze had three children, Wanda, Roger and Craig, during their 38-year marriage. The family built a summer cabin on Deer Lake in 1968. This quickly became their home away from home, spending every summer on Whidbey. During Henry’s retirement years, even more time was spent at the cabin enjoying Deer Lake. Henry loved traveling to Hawaii. He visited the Royal Grove Hotel each year, for 35 years, making many lifelong friends. After the death of Oze in 1985, Henry married Irene Laegreid in 1991. Irene was a loving wife and they shared 26 years together. The two enjoyed traveling and going dancing.
Henry was preceded in death by his older brother Melvin, first wife Ozella Simmons, second wife Irene Simmons, and two children Wanda Simmons and Craig Simmons. One of Henry’s greatest achievements in life was the care given to his son, Craig, who was born with down syndrome. The two were together for 54 years. He was heartbroken with the death of Craig just six months earlier.
Henry is survived by his younger brother, Gordon, who spent many hours by his side toward the end of his life. Henry’s son Roger cared for him in the last years of his life, and until the end, making sure he could be home looking out over Deer Lake. Henry and Roger were very close, as father and son. Henry deeply loved his grandchildren, Kelsey and Jacob whom he shared special relationships with. He is also survived by his former daughter-in-law, Debi, whom he remained close to, and Irene’s children, Sig (Heidi), Ingrid (Jim) and Sigrid, and grandchildren Solveig, Manch, Tove and Devon.
A memorial service will be held 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9, at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, 6309 S. Wilson Place in Clinton. All are welcome to attend. The family requests that remembrances be made to WhidbeyHealth Hospice Care and would like to extend our sincere gratitude to Janine and Delores for their wonderful care and support. 101 North Main Street, Coupeville WA 98239