William M. Simmons
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William M. Simmons

Middletown - William Michael "Bill" Simmons, 68, of Middletown, NJ, passed away unexpectedly on June 19, 2020. A beloved husband, brother, father, grandfather, and uncle, Bill was born in Brooklyn, NY, the oldest of three siblings, and lived in and around Middletown for over 60 years.

An avid lover of the environment and all things related to nature, Bill worked for the Monmouth County Health Department for over 30 years.

It is impossible to capture in words just how wonderful of a man Bill was. Always tinkering away at a new project, Bill had a talent of "MacGyvering" anything that needed repair as long as he had some duct tape and a screwdriver handy. He had a sense of humor that could not be beat. A true Aquarius, he loved the beach and all things related to it.

After retiring in 2013, he became a guide for Sea Grant Consortium where he would lead field trips for school children, teaching them the ways of the sea and all the life it holds. When Bill wasn't working or helping those in need, as he always put others before himself, he could be seen walking around his favorite parks, attending church every Sunday, or simply visiting his friends.

Bill is predeceased by his parents, William Joseph and Margaret "Peggy" (McLoughlin) Simmons.

He is survived by his loving wife, Leah (Cassone) Simmons of 36 years; their sons Matthew and Alex; grandsons Javed Laguardia and Skyler Simmons; sister Jeannie (Simmons) Patania, her husband Donald, their daughter Jill and son Michael; brother Kevin and his wife Eileen (Scully) Simmons; and many loving cousins and extended family.

Due to the pandemic, arrangements are privately being made by John F. Pfleger Funeral Home for a very small gathering. There will be a Mass service at Saint Mary, Mother of God church. The family requests privacy for the gatherings.

A future celebration of life memorial may take place. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation in Bill's name to any environmental cause of your choice.

He was a truly unique soul, and he will always be loved and adored, and missed by all the lives he touched. We love you!

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Asbury Park Press from Jun. 23 to Jun. 25, 2020.
No memorial events are currently scheduled. To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
Memories & Condolences
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9 entries
July 3, 2020
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Ellen Scully-Russ
June 30, 2020
I knew Bill through the County Health Dept. and the Ft. Monmouth Restoration Advisory Board hazards cleanup activities. Bill's work regarding Eatontown Wampum Lake and NJDEP made a lasting difference on the town's understanding of heavy metal pollution and the impacts on fish tissue. I will always remember him as a caring person and a friend.
Brian Charnick
June 26, 2020
Dear Simmons Family
I had the distinct pleasure of working with Bill at Sea Grant. First and foremost, he had a gift for education and lucky were his students as I know they always learned quite a lot from him. I always looked forward to the days that he would come to work because I would inevitably learn something new from him myself and there would always be pleasant and thoughtful conversation. He was also a frequent off -season visitor which was much appreciated! Gets pretty lonely on Sandy Hook in winter. I am so sorry for your loss. I cant imagine how much you must miss him but I hope many happy memories of him and all the good he did during his much to brief time on our ocean planet will comfort you in the days ahead.
Claire Antonucci
June 26, 2020
Dear Family and Friends of Bill Simmons,

I write from a place of lament and pain, yet also deep gratitude for my decades-long friendship with Bill Simmons. Bill and I were roommates at Quincy College. He was very smart and was never daunted by academic challenges. He was a profoundly good and active listener, had a terrific sense of humor, a keen love of music, storytelling and conversation; coupled with his New Jersey charm. We had a memorable adventure together hitchhiking to California during Spring Break of 1970. He invited me to Middletown where I was blessed to meet his parents, went sailing with his brother, Kevin, and dined on crab hauled in by his sister, Jeannie. Bill's family was fun, conversational, and engaged. Bill loved his wife, his extended family, his grandchildren, and his friends. He dedicated himself to his work as a public health official defending the common good. He was an introvert with a generous heart and a person of faith and prayer. When he was in his 'St. Francis zone', in silence, he read the gospel of Creation; sharing with others the extraordinary natural and free places of this earth he so loved, deriving tremendous joy in identifying plants on his phone app, iNaturalist.

I will miss deeply miss him.

With heartfelt sympathy and gratitude,
Tom Streckert
Tom Streckert
June 25, 2020
I went to high school with Bill... had not seen him for so many years but was able to talk to him at our school reunion last year... I will always remember his great sense of humor ... he always had a bright smile and made me laugh whenever we talked.... he was a very friendly person....my condolences to his family..
greg krayser
June 25, 2020
I so shocked and sad at this news that has come to me today! Although Bill and I have not spoken to each other in many years, we were in contact with each other through my sister who would see him sometimes at St Marys Church. He would always ask her how I was and I had her pass on my greetings to him. Bill and I once shared a great road trip to a little concert held in NYS during August of 1969. The Photo is taken from a book that I purchased that has our photos in it. However this one is the best of Bill who is sitting right behind me in the center, of course his hair was a little darker then! Thank goodness his mother gave us to cans of HC fruit drink....that was one of the reasons the trip was so memorable! I will always have Bill in my memories. RIP my friend!
Brian Chamberlain
June 25, 2020
I know Bill from our work with New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium and Clean Ocean Action. He had a very curious mind (must-have for science) and seemed to be in a perpetual learning mode. He took the time to learn everything he could (in this case the history, ecology, geology of Sandy Hook) and then he would share it with his students and his colleagues. Last time I saw Bill was on a Zoom webinar on the oceanography of the Midatlantic Bight a few weeks ago. I always enjoyed working with Bill as a co-leader on a program, and always learned something new when we shared a bus for moving students from one location to another. Bill was generous in many respects. I recall one time when someone approached him after a program asking him if he'd consider leading a group on a nature hike (he built an expansive knowledge of flora and fauna). Rather than take the opportunity to further his professional prospects, he instead directed them to one of the organizations for program options.
We both were motivated to identify as much as we could the plants on Sandy Hook. I will always remember how identify the spotted knapweed because of Bill!
This is a great loss for students and colleagues of Bill.
My heartfelt condolences to Bill's family, friends. He was a real treasure and will be missed very much.
Sarah A. Stewart
Sarah A Stewart
June 25, 2020
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Michael Meddis
June 25, 2020
I'm proud to say that I knew and worked with Bill for nearly 15 years at the Monmouth County Health Department. Bill had a deep passion of the environment. He was very knowledgeable about many things and was always a good listener when you had to talk about things. My condolences to the entire Simmons family. God Bless!
Jaye Sims
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