William Layton Simmons was born May 28, 1939, in Portland, Oregon, to Layton Hale and Minnie Duling Simmons. He attended grade school in Lone Pine, Oregon, and graduated from Prineville in 1958. He entered Heaven's gates on May 10, 2021.
How does one begin to write an obituary about Bill, who was so alive with laughter, love for others and love for God. One who reached out to you with a smile, a hug and an encouraging word. One who genuinely loved and cared about you and told you often. As a realtor he gave 100 percent of himself and that was with integrity. Each grandchild knew they were grandpa's favorite, and they were. He would sing and dance with them, pass them mentos during church along with quarters for the
offering, buy kiddie cones, hum during dinner, drink creamer with a touch of coffee or a large coke with no ice, grandkids loved to go to feed the chickens with grandpa and carry his famous "Chicken Bucket." When you couldn't find him he was often working in his peony garden.
After high school, Bill worked as an apprentice for Zacher's Mortuary in Redmond. He soon found it was the arranging of the flowers that attracted his attention, plus a certain blond organist. Bill and Judy began singing for funerals and Bill attended Hutchinson Floral School in Portland. The floral shop Bill worked for decorated The Lloyd's Center skating rink for Christmas the first year of it's existence.
In February 1961, Bill, his Aunt Bernice and Uncle Harvey opened Bill's Flowers. There were 50 cent days and no profit days, but the store was always full of visitors. Bill loved to make large bouquets and arranged them for Swan Island Dahlias for several years.
After Bill's Flowers, he farmed with his dad in the Mudd Springs Valley. They were some of the first farmers to raise mint, geese and lambs included. When Bill farmed, he drove a `53 Ford, named Gertie, that originated from the coast. The floor board was rusted through in several places, causing billowing clouds of choking dust in the car as you drove down Dogwood Lane. The door on the drivers side had to be bailing wire shut and eventually the seat flopped back and Bill had to sit up with no support. The story is told of Bill driving the yellow mint truck to the farm at the bottom of Warm Springs grade. Going down the hill he realized he had no brakes. After he barely, safely made it there he jumped out of the truck and kissed the ground. We're sure his guardian angel jumped out, too.
Real estate became Bill's passion and he was still selling 50 years later. He started Madras Real Estate which is now Dick Dodson Realty. Beyond the flowers, farm and real estate was his love and service to the Lord Jesus Christ. Bill and his wife, Judy, sang for over 40 years for the church and community and they taught four-year-old Sunday School many years.
Our Bill has gone home where real life has just begun. He's singing louder, dancing higher than ever before and probably greeting everyone going to Heaven with a smile and a hug.
He is survived by his wife, Judy, of nearly 60 years; his son's and their wives, Earl and Brooke, Mark and Cherie; seven grandchildren, Rachel and Bryan, Cole and Lauren, Karlee, Lauren, Coty, Amber, and Bryce; one great-grandchild, Bodie May; brother, Rod and wife, Judy; and sister, Phyllis and John of Michigan; nieces and nephews, Jeff , Ela, Laythen, Tess, Andrea and Ryan.
Services will be held May 24, at 10:30 a.m., at Cornerstone Baptist Church. Contributions may be sent to Enduring Treasures PO Box 97 St. Peters, Missouri 63376 or online at www.enduringtreasures.org.
The service will be livestreamed, go online to mcbcfamily.com, select live stream then join us live here.
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