Simmons, William Gordon
William Gordon Simmons, of Narrows, Va. passed away on Thursday, September 27, 2007. He was born in Narrows on October 8, 1922 to the late Edgar Gordon and Daisy Hale Simmons.
He graduated from Narrows High School in 1941 and while there was active in the sports of football, basketball, and baseball. He was a member of the 1939 State Champion Narrows Green Wave football team. He attended Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Va. until called to active duty in the United States Navy.
He graduated from Pensacola Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Fla., as a Naval Aviator. He served in World War II aboard the aircraft carrier Petrof Bay in the Pacific Theater. He also flew anti-submarine aircraft during the Cuban Missile Crisis. He remained in the active Naval Reserve, flying out of Columbus, Ohio, Norfolk, Va. and Anacosta in Washington, D.C. until retiring at age 50 with the rank of Commander. He remained a private pilot for 15 more years.
After World War II, he attended the University of Virginia in Charlottesville prior to establishing the William G. Simmons Construction Company in 1946, which is still in business today. He was a life member of the First United Methodist Church in Narrows and served on the Building Committee. He served on the Board of the New River Valley Airport Commission in Dublin, Va. He was also a Past-President and member of the Giles Memorial Hospital Foundation, and Past-President and member of the Carilion Giles Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees.
He was an avid Narrows Green Wave supporter, coaching the football team in 1942, and helped coordinate efforts to renovate Ragsdale Field and to build the weight room at Narrows High School.
In addition to his mother and father, he is preceded in death by his sister, Sarah S. Ragsdale; two brothers-in-law, Harry C. Ragsdale and William J. King; and his canine companion, Ashia.
He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Ruth Hendrickson Simmons; sons, John G. and Donna Simmons, Mark W. and Denise Simmons, William K. Simmons, and Kevin E. and Julie Simmons; daughters, Jeanne S. and Kerry Armentrout, and Merry S. and William Hobbs; sixteen grandchildren; and ten great-grandchildren. Also surviving are two sisters, Daisy S. King and Jane S. and Dr. Richard M. Newton, Sr.; and numerous nieces, great-nieces, nephews and great-nephews.
Funeral services will be held on Saturday, September 29, 2007 at 4 p.m. in the Chapel of Riffe’s Funeral Service in Narrows with the Rev. James Jenkins officiating. Burial will follow in Fairview Cemetery in Narrows with graveside rites by VFW Post #6000 of Narrows, American Legion Post #68 of Narrows and American Legion Post #311 of Pembroke.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to VFW Post #6000 of Narrows or the Carilion Giles Memorial Hospital Foundation, restricted for the new hospital. Online condolence messages can be sent to the family at www.riffes.com.