John R. Simmons, age 82, of Edinboro, Pa. died peacefully at home, Tuesday, November 13, 2012. He was born in Chicago, Ill. on February 21, 1930, a son of the late Frank and Ruth Toler Simmons. John was a graduate of Rossville High School in 1948 and earned his Bachelor of Science in Speech & Language Pathology at Eastern Illinois University in 1953, and his Bachelor of Arts at Penn State University in 1955. He was the first itinerant Speech Pathologist in Northwestern Pa., traveling between the Northwestern (Albion and Springfield), Fairview, and Girard school districts for 12 years. He finished his academic career as an Associate Professor in the Speech, Language & Hearing department at Edinboro University, retiring after 20 years of service. Many young people chose to become Speech and Language professionals because he was such an enthusiastic advocate for students. He was an expert in articulation and stuttering therapy. John was a 32nd Degree Mason of the Edinboro Lodge and attended church at the Edinboro Evangelical Lutheran Church. As a gifted athlete, he was a co-captain in his jr. and sr. years in basketball and football. He was the place kicker at Eastern Illinois University, and has scored no less than five hole-in-ones in golf! John was well known for his engaging and outgoing personality, and was deeply loved by his children and grandchildren who called him "Pap Pap." In addition to his parents, John was preceded in death by his devoted wife of 56 years, Marjiellyn Voigt Simmons. He is survived by his two children: Frederick John Simmons and his wife Diana Strauss Simmons of Gold River, Calif., and Martin Bruce Simmons and his wife Sue Ann Paulson Simmons of Edinboro. Additionally, he is survived by five grandchildren: Sara A. Simmons of San Diego, Calif., and Rebecca (Becca) Simmons, Gold River, Calif. Grant M. Simmons of Wheaton, Ill., Brette K. Simmons Smith and her husband Adam of South Bend, Ind., and Caroline M. Simmons of Edinboro. Also surviving is his loving caregiver Anita Volna, whose devotion to John is unsurpassed. Fawn Brunot and Michelle Roberts cared for John as well. Friends may call at the Van Matre Family Funeral Home, 306 Erie Street, Edinboro on Saturday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and may attend the funeral service there on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. Pastor Rod Beardsley of the First Baptist Church, Cambridge Springs will be officiating. Memorials may be made to the Erie City Mission 1023 French St. Erie, PA 16501 or the Dr. Frank Johnson Scholarship, % Edinboro University Alumni Association, 210 Meadville St. Edinboro, PA 16444. To send a condolence, please visit www.vanmatrefuneralhome.com.
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Van Matre Funeral Home - Edinboro
306 Erie Street
Edinboro, PA 16412
Published in the Erie Times-News on Nov. 16, 2012