Rev. Dr. W. Odell Simmons


Odell Simmons, 87, of Baton Rouge peacefully passed from this life, Tuesday, November 2, 2021, at home and surrounded by his children. He suffered from advanced dementia and was recently diagnosed with metastatic lung cancer.

Odell, and his twin brother, were born into a strong, loving family, sons to Lillie Bryan Simmons and Jim G. Simmons of Simms, Louisiana. They were humble beginnings, but there was an abundance of love and good times. It was through Jim and Lillie’s fine example that they instilled a strong work ethic and the importance of family, both of which served Odell well throughout his life.

Odell Simmons felt the calling to be a minister at the age of 16 and began preaching at Springhill Baptist Church in the Simms Community. He later joined the United Methodist Church and led congregations in Vidalia, Homer, DeRidder, Monroe, Shreveport, New Orleans, and Baton Rouge. His work ethic and desire to take care of his family led him to many distinguished moments in his career, a great source of pride. He earned a Master of Divinity Degree from Saint Paul School of Theology, received an Honorary Doctor’s Degree from Centenary College, and served as district superintendent of the Shreveport District, culminating in over 65 years of ministry.

Among the most significant moments in his life was meeting his wife, Dorothy, at Louisiana College. She was the love of his life and his greatest influence. Odell was a devoted husband and family man, who loved his grandchildren and great grandchildren. He was never happier than when he was surrounded by family. Odell never met a stranger. He was a character with a quick wit and could deliver a punch line with perfect timing. The simplest pleasures in life brought him great joy. He enjoyed fishing, listening to music, sitting on his patio, quietly rocking a baby, and working in his yard, always trying to coax a few more blooms from his plants. He was a grill master and would celebrate big occasions by firing up the pit.

He was preceded in death by his wife of 62 years, Dorothy Younger Simmons; parents, Jim G. and Lillie Bryan Simmons; brothers, Edward Simmons and twin brother, Varnell Simmons; sisters, Myrtle Kees, Elaine Brazell, and Mary Belle Marks.

Those left to cherish Odell’s memory include his sons, Darryl Simmons and wife, Cyndi; Mark Simmons and spouse, Kippy Richberg; daughter, Allison Simmons; grandchildren, Meg Simmons Young and husband, Robert, Will Simmons, Wes Simmons and wife, Heidi and Mattie Simmons; two great granddaughters, Millie and Olivia Young; and a host of other family members and friends.

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