Bettie M. Simmons

Nov 26, 2018
Bettie Simmons

Friendship — Bettie Marie Simmons, 89, spent her final days surrounded by loving family and passed away peacefully Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, at Cove’s Edge nursing home in Damariscotta after a long battle with Alzheimer’s.

She was born in Friendship June 16, 1929, the daughter of Basil and Lida (Poland) Burns.

Educated in Friendship schools, Bettie wed Leland Simmons April 26, 1946. Lifelong residents of Friendship, they once lived at the end of Forest Lake Road and operated a lobster pound before buying acreage on Route 220 and ultimately creating Simmons Lane. They were married for 45 years until his death in 1991.

Bettie was employed at Sylvania in Waldoboro for 37 years, happily retiring in 1993.

Among her favorite leisuretime hobbies and interests were reading, music – especially Elvis Presley and country western – sewing, rug braiding, shopping, playing cards and doing jigsaw puzzles. She was also an avid rug hooker who created beautiful rugs for each of her children.

Bettie had a zest for life, and in her prime, she rarely sat still. She enjoyed spending time with her girlfriends, taking trips with them to both New York City and Hawaii. She loved shopping and often went antiquing with her daughter and daughter-in-law, looking for pieces to add to her McCoy pottery collection. She was a devoted grandmother, annually taking her grandchildren to the Union Fair, and on particularly memorable trips with her daughter and daughters-in-law to Story Land, Santa’s Village and Six Gun City in New Hampshire.

After her retirement, Bettie spent many happy years traveling the United States in her RV with her longtime companion, Stillman Taylor, and her beloved cat, Bogie. The three of them wintered in Florida and often summered at Beaver Lodge in Hope, where no invitation was ever needed to join them for dinner and a campfire.

Alzheimer’s is a cruel disease, and while it may have robbed Bettie of the wonderful memories she made with her family, those special times will never be forgotten by the loved ones she has left behind. It is unanimous among her family that Christmas Eve at Grammy’s/Nana’s house is the most special of these memories. She was a true matriarch, and that was never more apparent than at Christmastime, when she brought the family together for fellowship and fun.

Bettie had a beaming smile, dancing eyes, and a ready chuckle. She was frequently heard singing or humming a melodic tune and often played the accordion and keyboard at family gatherings. She imparted many a loving and supportive word, had a sympathetic ear and an open hand to hold. She was truly beloved, and she will be deeply missed.

Bettie is survived by three children, her sons, Richard Simmons, and his wife, Diane, of Ormond Beach, Fla., and Maine, Ronald Simmons and his wife, Wanda, of Friendship; and her daughter, Darlene Simmons, and her wife, Susan Conley, of Lewiston; six grandchildren, Lynn Simmons Wolford and her husband, Jason, of Bardstown, Ky., Matthew Simmons and his wife, Jennifer, of Cushing, Aaron Simmons and his wife, Amy, of Chatham, Mass., Jeromy Simmons and his wife, Ramona, of Friendship, Holly Simmons Erskine and her husband, Jeff, of Waldoboro and Scott Simmons and his wife, Samantha, of Friendship; 11 great-grandchildren, Jacob Wolford, Elise Wolford of Bardstown, Ky., Ashley Simmons, Aidan Simmons of Chatham, Mass., Emma Simmons, Avery Simmons, Alden Simmons of Friendship, Sam Vose, Sophie Vose of Cushing, and Wyatt Simmons, Garrett Simmons of Friendship; step-great-grandson Ashton McClean and his wife, Sarah, of Warren; step-great-great-granddaughters Grace McClean and Ella McClean of Warren; nieces and nephews Deborah Mank Feltis of Friendship, Allen Mank of Cushing, Donna Mank of Rockland; and special friend Carl Simmons Jr. of Friendship.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Leland; father Basil Burns; mother Lida Poland Burns; brother Malcolm Burns; sister Mildred Burns Mank; brother-in-law Richard Mank; niece Gloria Mank Nash; nephew Michael Mank; and companion Stillman Taylor.

Bettie’s family extends their heartfelt thanks and sincerest appreciation to all of her caregivers over the course of her sad disease. Her granddaughter Holly and Joanne Genthner provided nurturing care while Bettie was still in her home in Friendship. She then received compassionate and loving care from the excellent staff members at both Riverside and Cove's Edge during the entire seven and a half years of her residency. Their affection and kindness made Bettie’s tenure and last days comfortable and filled with love.

Special recognition is also given to her son Ronald for his behind-the-scenes work to ensure the continuation of her facility residency, and especially to her daughter and daughter-in-law, Darlene and Susan, for their unwavering devotion and constant attention to Bettie and the quality of her care.

Visiting hours will be held at Hall’s Funeral Home, 949 Main St., Waldoboro, from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1. The family will then hold a private memorial celebration of Bettie's life that evening, to be followed in early May by a graveside service at the Roadside Cemetery in Friendship, which all who loved her are invited to attend.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in memory of Bettie to the Alzheimer’s Association, Maine Chapter at alz.org/maine.

Condolences for the family can be shared at hallfuneralhomes.com.

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