Douglas Jay Simmons: 1959-2020
Doug, as he was known by most folks, was born August 14, 1959, to Virgil Jay Simmons and Eleanor Mae (Garrett) Simmons in Belle Fourche, SD. Doug was raised on the Simmons & Sons family dairy farm outside of Nisland SD. After his parents purchased the farm in 1954, they decided “just farming” wasn’t enough for them and they started a dairy. It was during those years that Doug learned his hard, never-give-up work ethic. As his sisters started to arrive, Doug also developed his “protective” nature as well. He became their protector, friend, and role model. After graduating from Newell High School in 1977 he attended mechanic school in Colorado. Even though it was a great experience and provided lots of fun, Doug couldn’t resist returning to what he loved, and soon he was back taking care of business and his family.
In 1996, the family retired from dairying. Doug worked for a few years at another local dairy. In 1999, he started another adventure, drilling on the biggest methane rig in Wyoming. He hated to be separated from his wife and children, and they followed him to Douglas, WY, in 2000. He loved the fast-paced hard work that was a part of that environment. But then another opportunity arose and he found the love of his life: trucking. He had always loved to drive, and running water trucks gave him the opportunity to do so. That led to him running several businesses and he soon became known as Doug “Magna,” which was the name of the company he was managing. He enjoyed that part of his life so much that it was what he talked about for the remainder of his life. If someone had a job that seemed impossible to complete, Doug was the man they went to. Couldn’t be done? He would not only show them it could be but he would go above and beyond and make sure it was finished perfectly. That same attitude carried Doug to the very end of his life. When the doctors told him that he had only 4 weeks to live he laughed and proceeded to show them that they would not tell him when he was done.
Doug loved to tell stories about his kids. His son, he would say, with a smile of approval, was the “horse whisperer,” with a huge passion for those beautiful creatures. He said he would never forget the “girls football team” he coached (basketball). He loved to travel and dreamed that one day he would see the world. He made many trips to see his sisters, Cindy in California and Nancy in Montana. He also spent a lot of time with his sister, Linda, and loved to have many great debates with her. In such a large family, Doug was the one who could always be counted on to make everyone smile. Practical jokes, extravagant stories, and the biggest heart are what he will always be remembered for.
Douglas Jay Simmons passed peacefully, with his children by his side, from complications due to cancer on June 1, 2020, at his home outside of Nisland.
Doug is survived by his daughter, Shonda Murree Zwetzig (James Ganje) of Vale, SD; son, Jaymes Simmons of Nisland, SD; grandson, Peyton James Carter and Andrew Jaymes Simmons; sisters, Cindy (Victor) Valencia of Grand Terrace, CA, and Nancy Leah (Lloyd) Newman of Billings, MT; several nieces and nephews; and special friend, LeeAnne Eckholt, her daughters, and a handful of bonus grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Virgil and Eleanor; and sister, Linda.
A semi-private memorial service will be held by the family at a later date.