October 11, 1946 - September 12, 2020
Anchorage, Alaska - Jerry Simmons, after many years with Alzheimer's, forgot to wake up on the morning of September 12th.
Jerry was born in Juneau, AK, to Richard and Jean Simmons in 1946 and grew up in Bellingham. Upon graduation from Bellingham High School, he attended WWU where he studied pinochle and cribbage until wisely volunteering for the Army's food inspection division in 1966. In the Army, he was stationed in San Antonio, TX where his primary duty was sourcing and purchasing shrimp. This led to a B.S. in Food Science at the University of Washington. During the summers, he worked as a cook on purse seiners in Washington and southeast Alaska. After college and a brief stint at a potato plant in Connell, WA, he began a career in the northwest seafood industry. While living in Seattle, he met the love of his life, an RN named Alice. They married in 1978 and set off on an adventure to Sandpoint, AK then to Kodiak, AK, before settling in Bellingham in 1982 and building their home on Lake Whatcom. Jerry spent much of his career at Bellingham Cold Storage with some shorter periods at other cold storages in the northwest. The social aspects of work were always important as were afternoon rounds of golf with 'customers.' He was Past President of Bellingham Bay Rotary Club and was active in the International Association of Refrigerated Warehouses. Jerry was also a proud member of the Bellingham High Alumni Band, having played the trombone in high school. When not on the golf course or in the wood shop, Jerry's heart was with Alice, west of Lummi Island, pulling up crab pots full of keepers. Jerry had a knack for acquiring delicious seafood and rarely gave others the opportunity to (over)cook salmon, happily taking up cooking duties himself to assure the satisfaction of family and friends.
Throughout his illness Jerry maintained his sense of humor and his gentle, friendly demeanor. He is survived by wife Alice; children Greg (Evelina), Mary (Justin), and Colleen (Chris); grandsons James and George; siblings Richard, Frances, and Joan; and numerous nieces and nephews.
The Simmons family encourages memorials to Dementia Support Northwest (dementiasupportnw.org
), Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association (www.n-sea.org
), or an organization Jerry would have supported.
A party to celebrate Jerry's life will be held next summer (2021).