James L. “Jim” Simmons, 84, of Baker City, passed away Oct. 16, 2014.
Jim was born Jan. 12, 1930, in Wenatchee to Jim and Dorothy Simmons. Answering to the family as “Leverne” as a youth (in order to distinguish him from his father), Jim grew up helping on the family ranch near Twisp. He attended schools in Twisp, graduating at age 16 before attending Washington State College (now Washington State University) where in 1950 he earned a degree in geology.
Soon thereafter, he was drafted into service in the U.S. Army, and served his country as a geological technician at the Presidio, California, until his discharge with the rank of corporal in 1953. While in California, he met the love of his life, Carolyn Mattson, and they were married on Sept. 27, 1953, in San Francisco. The couple would later be graced with three children: Steven, David and Ann.
For a time after their marriage, Jim and Carolyn made their home in Ventura, while Jim worked as a cartographer for Western Geophysical in the off-shore petroleum industry. Thereafter, the couple returned to the family ranch to work and raise a family. After working the ranch for a time, Jim went to work for Wagner Lumber Company. Initially, he worked in the woods, but was soon moved to the office as an accountant. In 1970, Jim and Carolyn moved the family to Baker City when Jim took a job as controller with the Ellingson Lumber Company, where he would remain employed until his retirement in 1995.
Jim was a passionate and accomplished outdoorsman, and spent many a day afield hunting, fishing, or panning for gold. He had a wonderful sense of humor and enjoyed spending time playing cards, golf and dominos. In retirement, Jim continued to spend time outdoors, as well as traveling to visit his family, gardening (raising an impressive garden each season, featuring a pumpkin grown specially for each grandchild in which he lovingly carved their name), cheering for his beloved Washington State University Cougars, and helping others.
In both his personal and professional lives, Jim was a quiet, gentle and exceedingly capable man whose meticulous eye for detail and patience were exceeded only by his kindness and consideration of others.
He was a devoted husband, father, grandfather, brother and son, as well as a great friend. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.
Jim was preceded in death by his parents and one sister, Kay Brantner. He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Carolyn; his children, Steven (Judy) of Troutdale, Oregon, David (Ronda) of Boise, Idaho, and Ann (Paul) Phillips, of Gillette, Wyoming; four grandchildren, Katie Nelson (Josiah), of Missoula, Montana, Hannah Phillips, of Seattle, Derek Simmons, of Seattle, and Abigail Phillips, of Brookings, South Dakota; one sister, Sherri Woods, of Spokane; and numerous nieces and nephews.