Services will be held Tuesday at 2 p.m. at First United Methodist Church of Columbia. Colonial Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Mrs. Simmons was the daughter of the late Charles Buford Quinn and Viola Hamill Quinn of Forest and the widow of the late Willie W. Simmons of Columbia.
Survivors include two son, Richard "Dick" Simmons and Wronal Simmons of Columbia; her daughter, Sue Simmons Welch of Ridgeland; and a grandson, Wyatt Simmons of Columbia.
She was the valedictorian of Forest High School Class of 1945. She attended Belhaven College and transferred to Mississippi State College for Women (now Mississippi University for Women) and graduated cum laude in 1949 with a degree in home economics education. While at the W, she was a member of several organizations including Mortar Board, Phi Upsilon Omicron, Kappa Delta Epsilon, Home Economics Club and Wesley Foundation. She also took graduate courses at the University of Southern Mississippi and Mississippi State University.
She moved to Columbia in the fall of 1949 to teach home economics where she resided until the time of her death. She taught home economics at the Columbia City Schools, Marion County Schools, Columbia Training School and Columbia Academy.
She was a member of First United Methodist Church of Columbia and the Homebuilders Sunday School Class and was a past president of the class as well as substitute teacher. She served in the past as the Adult Superintendent, Youth Superintendent and a Sunday School teacher in the Children's Division. She had served on the Board of Trustees and was a former chairman of the missions work area. She had served as a member and past chairman of the administrative ( official) board and the Staff Parrish committee and had represented the church as its official delegate at the Mississippi Methodist Conference for several years. She was active in and had chaired many committees of the United Methodist Women. She also served as a board member for the Methodist Children's Home.
Mrs. Simmons was active in many community and state civic activities throughout her life. She was past president of Pine Needle Garden Club and Hilltop Garden Club and served as the president of the Mississippi Federated Women's Clubs from 1968-70 and was successful in lobbying the Legislature for the funding to begin Educational Television. She was a member of the Mississippians for Educational Broadcasting and served as secretary for the Foundation for Public Broadcasting Board. She served as member and past president of the Columbia Junior Auxiliary. She was honored by the Junior Auxiliary in 1981 as the Marion County Outstanding Citizen at its annual ball. She served on the Mississippi Division Board of the American Cancer Society for a six-year term. She was a member of the Mississippi Humanities Council and was a member of the Mississippi University for Women Alumni Board and the Foundation Board as well as a member and past president of Delta Kappa Gamma International Society for Women Educators. She was also a member of the Columbia Business and Professional Women's Club and a member of the Marion County and Mississippi Forestry Association.
In 1972 she was named by Gov. William "Bill" L. Waller to a 12-year term on the Institutions of Higher Learning (State College Board) and was president of the Board from 1980-81, the first woman to hold that position. While serving on the College Board, she was its representative to the Mississippi Authority for Educational Television Board serving as secretary, vice-president and president again was the first woman to serve as the president of this board. While on the College Board, she received the first Medal of Excellence awarded by Mississippi University for Women in 1979. As her term was expiring in 1984, the Administration Building at MUW was named Simmons Hall in her honor in 1984. Due to structural defects, it had to be demolished several years later. She was again honored by her alma mater with the rededication of Hastings Hall as Hastings-Simmons Hall in 1992 which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
In 1987 she was the first woman from Marion County to be elected to the State Legislature to the House of Representatives representing District 100 for 12 years (three terms). While in the Legislature she served on the following committees. Banks and Banking, Education, Public Utilities, Judiciary B and Universities and Colleges. She was chosen by her peers as Chairman of the Women of the Legislature for both the House and Senate. While a member of the Legislature, she supported legislation that dealt with education, help for abused women and children for which she received an award for lifetime service and dedication in behalf of Mississippi's children, funding for the rural firefighters for which she received recognition for her commitment to the preservation of life and property from the ravages of fire from the Mississippi Firefighters Association.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers that memorials be made to one of the following: First United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 585, Columbia, MS 39429; or the Methodist Children's Home, P.O. Box 2589, Madison, MS 39130-2589; or The Miriam Q. Simmons Scholarship Endowment, C/O USM Athletic Foundation, Attn: Christi Holloway, P.O. Box, 15458, Hattiesburg, MS 39404-9891.
Visitation will be today 4 p.m.-8 p.m. and Tuesday 12:30 p.m.-2 p.m. at the church.
DEKALB Graveside services for Rosetta Sills will be held Wednesday at 2 p.m. at Salem Baptist Church Cemetery with the Rev. Tim Robertson officiating. Stephens Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Mrs. Sills, 91, of DeKalb, died Sunday, March 24, 2002, in DeKalb.
Arrangements were incomplete at Barham Funeral Home for Jerrod Haguewood, 20, of Meridian, who died Sunday, March 24, 2002, in Lauderdale County.
Arrangements were incomplete at Stephens Funeral Home of Union for Gordon Rudd, of Neshoba County, who died Monday, March 25, 2002, in his home.