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James (Del Simmons) Simonian

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JOSEPH SIMONIAN (DEL SIMMONS) James J. Simonian, known professionally as Del Simmons, was a consummate musician whose interests spanned a myriad of musical genres. Jim began playing the clarinet in Massachusetts at the age of nine, and he grew up in a musical family that included his father Sitrak, brother Richard, and sister Meg. Starting as a teenage bandleader at high school dances, Jim joined the Army Air Corps during World War II and led one of Glenn Miller's service orchestras. Trained at the New England Conservatory of Music and by instructors from Julliard, Jim spent early years in the jazz scene in New York, specializing in woodwinds - clarinet, tenor saxophone, and flute. Throughout his career, he believed i n playing music to which people could relate, music that moved people. During an extended engagement at the world-famous London Chop House in Detroit, Jim met and married Sonia Andonian, a medical doctor, whom he would cherish for the remaining 54 years of his life. Jim and Sonia raised three children, moving to the Los Angeles area in the late 1950s. Despite the rigors of musical performance, Jim also made time to mentor and teach music to children. Even with his own substantial accomplishments in mus ic, he was proudest of his family, and he took great pleasure in being a dedicated and involved father and, ultimately, grandfather. Along with music, his passions were gardening, reading, and sportfishing. At 85 years of age, Jim leaves behind his wife, Sonia, a retired M.D.; his sons, Mark and Chris; daughter, Susan; three grandchildren, Katherine Houle, Matthew Houle, and Natalie Simonian; son-in-law, Clark Houle; daughter-in-law, Cynthia Simonian; sister, Meg Simonian; and sister-in-law, Madeline A ndonian. Memorial Services will be held today, Friday, November 21, 2008, at 1:00 p.m. at St. Mary's Armenian Apostolic Church, 500 South Central Avenue, Glendale, CA 91204. Following the services, a Memorial Luncheon will be held at Barone's, 13726 Oxnard Street, Valley Glen, CA 91401. In lieu of flowers, the family requests a donation to the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in the name of James Simonian (Del Simmons), c/o Dr. Susan Simonian, 2784 Gaston Gate, Mt. Pleasant, SC 29466. Visit www.d ailynews.com to express condolences and sign this guest book
Published in Los Angeles Daily News on Nov. 21, 2008
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