Reverend James Wright Simons

Reverend James Wright Simons

Reverend James Wright Simons, born March 22, 1925 in Franklin Parish, LA and died June 22, 2020 in Winnfield, LA at the age of 95. He was preceded in death by his wife Audie Ulmer Simons; son, Wendell H. Simons; daughter, Colonel Hedy C. Pinkerton; parents, Marion Simons and Ola Hatten Simons; and sisters, Margaret Herring and Marion Ozment. He is survived by his sister Frankie Boswell of Little Rock, AR; his son-in-law, Colonel James Pinkerton, of Ponte Vedra Beach, FL; five grandchildren: Gregory Simons of Olla, LA; Lieutenant Colonel Jason Pinkerton of San Antonio, TX; Ashlee Simons Cherry of Old Hickory, TN; Holly Delaney of Jacksonville, FL; Michael Pinkerton of Colorado Springs, CO; and sixteen greatgrandchildren. He is also survived by sister-in-law Agnes Andrews of Clayton, LA and a number of beloved nieces and nephews.

After graduating from Crowville High School, Reverend Simons joined the U.S. Navy where he was selected to receive advanced training as a radioman. He was initially trained in San Diego, CA where he was taught to send and receive Morse code, type, and become familiar with naval radio operating procedures along with commando training for shore operations. As a radioman, he was responsible for the prompt delivery of special handling code, classified message traffic, and specifically designated messages for the commanding officer and the associated chain of command on ship or during shore duty. He served in the Navy until the end of World War II with his primary experience being in the Philippines where he was a part of the islands’ liberation forces. Upon release from the Navy, he married Audie, his high school sweetheart, in Brandon, MS on March 13, 1946 and they returned to Louisiana. Reverend Simons began a career as a farmer and subsequently worked for Guin Building Contractor as an electrician. He was ordained as a Baptist minister at Bayou Macon Baptist Church, Winnsboro, LA in 1960. He graduated from Clark Junior College, Newton, MS in 1964 and from Louisiana College in Pineville, LA in 1967. He served as a pastor at Turkey Bluff Baptist Church, Crowville, LA; Fort Necessity Baptist Church, Fort Necessity, LA; Selma Baptist Church, Georgetown, LA; Standard Baptist Church, Olla, LA; Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, Winnfield, LA; and Sharon Baptist Church, Sikes, LA. His ministerial career spanned more than 50 years with him continuing to serve as an active pastor, preside over weddings, and conduct funerals. He served as head of the Deer Creek Louisiana Baptist Association for a number of years. He served as an elected elder of the Boeuf River Cherokee Tribe. He was an avid gardener and loved to share his bountiful crops with his neighbors and friends. Brother Simons, as he was affectionately known, was devoted to his God and his family, which included his many church families. His training as a naval radioman was just the start of his delivery of special messages as he used his God-given talents to continue to deliver God’s message to congregations throughout the state for over 50 years. In the Navy he noted that one of the most critical duties was to “stand watch” in the radio shack in the event that a special message came in and he correlated that to his responsibilities as a pastor. We are confident that he is continuing to stand watch today and that the many messages he delivered will continue to pay dividends in the many lives he touched as a pastor, father, brother, and friend.

A visitation was held on June 27 at 9:00 at Hebron Baptist Church, followed by funeral services at 10:00 presided over by Reverend Joe Evans. Interment, with military honors, followed in the Hebron Cemetery under the direction of Southern Funeral Home of Winnfield. Donations in Brother Simons’ memory may be made to the Hebron Cemetery courtesy of Margaret Waggoner, 3682 Tisdale Rd., Eros, LA 71238. Messages of condolences may be sent to the family online by visiting www.southernfuneralhome.com

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