April 12, 1938 - September 3, 2020
Beverly Jean (Walls) Simmons
April 12, 1938 – September 3, 2020
Born in Eugene, Oregon to parents Vera Mae (Du Bois) Walls and Glenn Wayne Walls, Bev was the eldest sister of brothers James and Gary. She initially attended Dunn Grade School. The family then moved to West Salem where she finished elementary and junior high schools before graduating from South Salem High School. There she was involved in the debate team, orchestra and choir. She went on to receive a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Oregon School of Nursing (now OHSU) in 1960. Throughout her school years, Bev received top honors in academics and leadership roles. At OHSU, she was named “Student Nurse of the Year” in 1960.
She married Allen Simmons in 1959 and is survived by three grown children: Jayne Walker (Keith), Mark Simmons (Sherie Weisenberg), Scott Simmons (Stephanie); seven grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; brother, James Walls and sister-in-law, Joyce Balaski. Her parents Vera and Wayne; youngest brother, Gary Walls; and granddaughter, Melissa Walker preceded her in death.
A born leader, Bev lived her entire life for community, church, family and friends. For many years she served as Director of Nursing at West Hills Convalescent Center and Markham House in Portland. At work, she was known for her caring connection with patients and their families, as well as with her co-workers, along with her extensive themed office decorations for Halloween. Devoted to her beloved First Baptist Church (FBC) of Portland, Bev was a member of its choir for nearly sixty years, taught Sunday school, arranged church flowers weekly, led bible study classes, and helped coordinate coffee hours and events among other activities.
Bev was the epitome of joy and a welcoming spirit. She hosted many Easter and Thanksgiving celebrations at her home, inviting family, friends and anyone who wanted a place to go. Bev opened her doors to a number of people who needed somewhere to stay over the years. She could always be counted on to lend a helping hand to those in need and was an amazing example of recognizing the dignity of everyone.
Bev was a huge fan of her beloved University of Oregon Ducks, attending many football games, traveling to the Rose Bowl solo one year, watching basketball games and always setting up a separate Christmas tree with her many Duck decorations. Portland’s Rose Festival was another reason for Bev to celebrate for over forty years. She frequently began the season searching for the treasure hunt medallion. Her grandchildren were known to sleep in the car with her the night before the parade to secure a spot on Broadway or adjacent to FBC, where many joined her to enjoy the parade. A highlight for her was a time-lapse photo of her spot on parade day published by The Oregonian one year. She always packed lunch to share with family, friends and those who were houseless at O’Bryant Square post-parade.
During the past several years, she looked forward to the Cannon Beach Sandcastle Contest and her role on Team Tie Dye. Her good friends will remember the many dinner and movie dates they shared. Bev’s great-grandchildren will remember their “Grandma Cinnamon” and the time she spent with them crafting and playing. Bev will be remembered for so many more things…music, piano playing, repeated old family stories, and gifted devotional books, to name a few. Above all, her laughter, compassion, thoughtfulness and love for her family and friends will be missed.
Private graveside services will be held at City View Cemetery in Salem where Bev will be buried alongside her parents and grandparents, according to her wishes. A celebration of Bev’s life will be planned next year. For those who would like to be notified of the date, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to First Baptist Church, c/o Bev Simmons Memorial Fund, 909 S.W. 11 th Ave., Portland, OR 97205. Any contributions will support the church’s children’s and Cambodian ministries, both of which Bev was involved in for many years.
The family greatly appreciates all of Bev’s friends and caregivers for their willingness to engage and help over the past year.