Lillian Bareford Simmons
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Age 97, passed away at home, of natural causes, attended by her family. Lillian's famously nimble mind endured until two days before her death.
Lillian grew up in Downingtown, PA, the daughter of John Pollock Bareford and Ethel Mower Bareford. She earned her BA from Drexel University, Class of '36, then moved to Lancaster County PA for her first teaching job. Her career in the classroom was put on hold after she married and began her second career as a busy mother. When her five children were older, she taught part-time at Padua Academy in Wilmington, and also at the NC County Correctional Institute, the old "workhouse" that stood at Price's Corner.
Lillian was known for her vitality and her unwavering good cheer. Through the month before her death, she was driving her car around town to play bridge at Claymore Center, to gather with friends at the TOPS Club, and to attend her beloved church, Richardson Park United Methodist. Until a few years ago, she volunteered as cashier at the Richardson Park Community Action Program, and, in the summer, swam leisurely laps at the Crestmoor Pool.
At her home in Richardson Park, which she occupied for 63 years, Lillian enjoyed playing the piano, reciting poetry, reading mysteries and the classics, knitting lap robes for the Veterans' Hospital, solving crosswords (in ink), pampering her cats and her African violets, and keeping score while following the Phillies games. She was a lifelong Phillies fan.
While Lillian loved teaching, she loved learning even more. Her passion for knowledge, together with her flawless memory, made her a formidable Jeopardy player. One or more of her children always joined her at her home for the daily Jeopardy broadcast.
Lillian was predeceased by her husband of 51 years, Samuel F. Simmons, Sr. who died in 1989; by her son Samuel F. Simmons, Jr (2002); and by her only sibling, her older sister Florence McGuckin, who passed away in 2012.
Lillian will be greatly missed by her loving children: daughter Anne Sewell (husband Earl), son John Simmons, daughter Mary Jane Simmons, all residing near Richardson Park; son Bob Simmons (Michelle) of Pennsville NJ; daughter Kathy Simmons (wife of Sam Jr) of Ellijay, GA. Lillian was adored by her grandchildren: Joseph "Joey" Soltow (Stephanie) of Hockessin DE; Mark Soltow (Barbara) of Elkton MD; Michael Soltow (Mariela) of Abingdon MD; Karen Simmons of Decatur GA; Amy Lendach (Mick) of Raleigh NC; David Simmons (Jill) of San Diego CA; Rachel Simmons (Peter Chrustowski) of Pennsville; Leah Simmons of Pennsville; Bethany Simmons (Jake Baker) of Berkeley CA; Jacqui Gambacorta (Justin) of Milltown DE. Lillian is survived by 12 great-grandchildren, 3 grand-dogs, numerous Simmons and McGuckin nieces and nephews, and many dear friends.
A Memorial Service and Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, January 26, at Richardson Park United Methodist Church, 11 North Maryland Avenue, Wilmington, DE 19804. Lillian's family will greet visitors at the church beginning at 9:30 am, and the service will begin at 11 am. Burial services at Gracelawn Memorial Park will be private.
Lillian requests no flowers, and asks that any donations in her memory be made to Richardson Park Community Action Program, Inc., 107 S. Maryland Avenue, Wilmington, DE 19804.
For online condolences, visit mccreryandharra.com
Published in The News Journal from Jan. 12 to Jan. 14, 2013