Simmons, Dr., Melvin
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Nov. 21, 1916 - Oct. 27, 2012
Melvin "Mel" Morris Simmons, M.D., 96, of Sarasota, FL passed away Oct. 27. 2012. Dr. Simmons was born Nov. 21, 1916 in Nashville, TN, the son of Orbra and Maude (Morris) Simmons. He attended Vanderbilt University, where he studied biology as an undergraduate, going on to complete Vanderbilt Medical School in 1940 and a residency in general surgery. While a student, he joined the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves and became a pilot. When WWII began in 1941 he enlisted in the Army Air Force, because the Marines had no medical corps at the time. He studied aviation medicine, and then served in eastern China as flight surgeon with the Army 14th Air Force, known as the "Flying Tigers," under General Chennault. He served in this capacity until 1945, rising to the rank of Lt. Colonel. While serving in China he received the Bronze Star for valor, many other military honors, and the continuing gratitude of the people of China. Following WWII Dr. Simmons returned to Nashville and completed a surgical residency in urology at Vanderbilt University. In the late 1940s he visited Sarasota and fell in love with the area. Subsequently he moved to Sarasota, and began private practice. For many years he was the only urologist from Tampa to Miami. He loved the practice of medicine and contributed greatly to the development of Sarasota Memorial Hospital, where he practiced for 45 years. Dr. Simmons was preceded in death by his son, Melvin M. Simmons II and daughter, Vickie Dewey. He leaves behind his beloved wife, Joan and children, Stephanie, Gary and Brett; step-children Christine, Susan and James Petrecca as well as 6 grandchildren. Private services will be held. A memorial service will be announced in the future. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Senior Friendship Centers Living Room or the 1st United Methodist Church, Early Care Center.
Published in Herald Tribune from Nov. 2 to Nov. 4, 2012