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Bill Simmons

Bill Simmons

Bill Simmons, 71, beloved family man of God, went to be with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on Monday. He died at home. He was preceded in death by his parents, a brother Jerry, and his wife, Theodosia Jane Simmons.

He is survived by his daughter, Theodosia Jane “Teddi” Cole of Little Rock and her husband, Troy; a son, William Tobias “Toby” Simmons of Little Rock and his wife, Penny; a brother, Toby Ray Simmons and his wife, Carolyn, of Pine Bluff; six grandchildren, one great-grandchild and another great-grandchild on the way.

He was born Sept. 23, 1941, in North Little Rock, the son of William Foster Simmons and Pauline Elizabeth Hollenberger Simmons.

He started in the news business while still in high school in 1958 as a copy boy at the Arkansas Gazette, where he later became sportswriter. He took a job with the Little Rock bureau of the Associated Press in 1962, the same year he and Jane were married. After a few years with the AP in Little Rock, they moved to Detroit where he helped cover the race riots in 1967-68; soon after, they returned to the Little Rock AP, where he became the capitol correspondent covering Arkansas politics. He was dubbed the "Dean of the Capitol Press Corps" for many years before becoming the AP’s Chief of Bureau in 1990.

He retired from the AP in 1996 after 34 years of service. He then became the political editor for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in 1997 where he worked until he died. Earlier this year he received the distinguished “Golden 50 Service Award” from the Arkansas Press Association.
He came from humble roots, and always remained humble. He was described as the consummate newsman, always tough but always fair. He challenged many public officials; while not everyone liked what he wrote, he was well respected by those he covered.

He was tenacious and dogged in his work, and was loyal and generous to those around him. One of his private ministries was equipping pastors with hundreds of good books to encourage them in their faith and theology. He was a sharp communicator who had and taught a big view of God. He was a blessing to many.

His devotion to God was followed closely by his devotion to his wife and family. Thankful and proud that Jane was his best friend, he took great care of her in her declining years. She remained the love of his life. He loved poetry, bad puns and being a wordsmith. Even though he never received a college degree he was described by his daughter as “the smartest man I ever knew.”

A visitation will be held at Ruebel Funeral Home, 6313 W. Markham St. on Thursday, November 1, 2012 from 4 to 6 p.m. A funeral service will be held at The Bible Church of Little Rock on Friday, November 2, 2012 at 10 a.m., officiated by Pastor Tim Senn. Interment will follow at Pinecrest Memorial Park.

Memorials may be made to The Bible Church of Little Rock, 19111 Cantrell Rd., Little Rock, AR 72223. Arrangements by Ruebel Funeral Home,

Condolence Book

"Teddi and Toby, we are so grieved and saddened by the loss of your dear father. What a man he was and what an amazing gift to you both. We love you so much and are lifting you up in prayer.

Under His Wing
Scott and Michelle Connolly and family"

Scott and Michelle Connolly | Grand Forks , ND |

"Bill was tenacious. At the height of the Leroy Williams scandal, it was my task to shield Leroy from the members of the media. Leroy was scheduled for an interview by the FBI at the federal building in Little Rock, and in collaboration with the FBI, Leroy was to exit the building from the West entrance and while the gaggle of media were waiting at the East exit, I was waiting in my car on the West side street across Capitol avenue and Bill was the only person at the West entrance. I knew better than to approach the building entrance as long as Bill was there because Bill would have gotten into my car before Leroy. Bill noticed my car and started my way and I knew I had no time left but waited until Bill crossed Capitol Avenue. Leroy came out and I drove onto the sidewalk entrance to pick him up and skedaddle before Bill could get back across Capitol Avenue. Bill had a nose for news, was always fair and with unquestioned honesty, rare qualities in the political arena. My condolences to Bill's family and knowing Bill Simmons was one of my blessings of being a member of the Rockefeller Administration who brought me to Little Rock in 1957. "
Bob Scott | Rogers AR |

"We send our sympathies to the Simmons family. Arkansawyers have long known if the name BILL SIMMONS was at the crest of a news article, it was "trustworthy and good". These same adjectives could be used to describe the man himself!"
Audrey Burtrum-Stanley & Jim Stanley, Jr. | , AR |

"Sad to hear about Bill passing. My last contact with him was in 09 by email. Bill was a wonderful friend to all of his high school buddies. He will be missed. Prayers for the family!
James, Krakow, Poland"

james munnerlyn | north little rock, AR |

"Bill was a great friend in High School and I will miss him and his great work on the Arkansas Democrat paper."
Leo Munford | Cabot, AR |

"My love is with you Toby, Penny, Teddi, Troy and all your children. Bill will be missed greatly by all of us. We shared grandchildren and my heart is with them now. I treasure the memories of the years of knowing Bill and Jane as I reflect on all the blessings. "
Sabra Farrell | Little Rock, AR |

"Bill was one of my very favorite classmates. I am proud to have known him. He brought joy and pride to those of us who went to school with him. I know that this is a hard time for you and I will keep you in my prayers. "
Frances L Swain | Little Rock, AR |

"I lost touch with Bill after high school except for his editorials. He was always friendly to everyone regardless of your station in life and that alone says a lot about his character . May the God of all blessings comfort Bill's family during this time of sorrow. "
Virgil Sinkey | Judsonia, AR |

The freiendship shared by Bill and myself goes all the way back to 1954, great memories of a wonderful, at that time, young man and what great school times we were able to experience all the way through High School graduation. He was always willing to help out or share anything with any of his class mates. A wonderful, load of memories I will always cherish. My heart and prayers are with you, always remember the GOOD TIMES!!!!! "

Pat Murphy-Heine | Old Hickory, TN |

"Teddi and Toby,

My sincere sympathy. I remember your dad and mom when the three of us were neighbors and growing up on Pam Drive. I lost my mother in 2009 to cancer; and I am so sorry for your loss."

Tammie Showalter Orlicek | Ward, AR |

"Teddi and Family
I am so sorry to hear about your father. My thoughts and Prayers are with you all during this time. "

Susan Brantigan Sullivan | Little Rock, AR |

"To Bill's family,
I was so sorry to read about your father's Bill's death in the newspaper. Arkansas lost a giant of integrity, and I lost a friend who had often been a voice of wisdom when I needed it. I think I was a bit privileged because Bill really liked my mother, Elaine Carpenter, who was his high school librarian. So, when I started trying cases around the State that he covered, he would let me know that he knew my family.
Over the years I would call on him for his insight on various issues, sometimes dealing with FOI, and sometimes dealing with other issues. He always had time to talk to me, always provided good advice, and never failed to ask how my mother was doing. He was a prince.
I cannot imagine what your sense of loss must be like, but I can tell you that it is shared by so many who knew Bill. And, also shared are some really special moments when the professional and the friend combined to help assure me that it is not a totally cynical world, that actions have consequences, and that freedom demands responsibility. Add to this the fact that he was a man of God, unabashedly, and it is easy to quote Scripture: Well done, oh Good and Faithful servant.

Thomas M. "Tom" Carpenter | Little Rock, AR |

"thoughts and prayers for your family toby"

"We were saddened to hear of Bill's passing. The last time we spoke was the end of 2008 and Jane was sick, but he was still being sensitive to our needs. He was a great friend and he will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the whole family. God bless you all."
Tracey and Bryan Salley | Little Rock, AR |

"Toby and family,

Bill will be missed by all of us.
My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Rosie Dixon"

Rosie Dixon | N. Little Rock, AR |

"My prayers continue to be with you during this time. I'm so terribly sorry for your loss."
Anna Lloyd | Little Rock, AR |

"We're saddened by Bill's death but know that he is with his Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Our prayers are with his family. "
James & Jill Henrich | Little Rock, AR |

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