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1926 Virgil 2011

Virgil Simmons

January 11, 1926 — November 8, 2011

Virgil J. Simmons age 85 of Newell, died Tuesday November 8th, 2011 at the Rapid City Regional Hospital. The funeral service will be held 2pm Saturday November 12th, 2011 at Funeral Home of the Northern Hills in Belle Fourche with Rev. Tom Martin officiating. Visitation will be held one hour prior to the service. Interment will be held 9:30 AM Monday at Black Hills National Cemetery, with Military Honors provided by the Sturgis Honor Guard. Virgil Simmons was born January 11, 1926 in Newcastle, Wyoming. He was the son of Jay and Hanna (Harms) Simmons. Virgil grew up in the Clareton Wyoming area where he attended a country school through eleventh grade, when he was needed to work at home. During World War II, Virgil served his country in the U.S. Army. He entered the service on August 2, 1945 at Fort Sill, OK. He was stationed at Fort Knox Kentucky, where he became a Drill Sergeant at the age of 19. He trained men for hand to hand combat and artillery training. During his service he became very sick and he spent 6 months in a Fort Knox hospital and then another 6 months at the VA Hospital in Hot Springs. He was honorably discharged on November 30, 1946. Virgil helped his sister, Hazel, for 5 years at the coal mine she owned near Gillette WY, now known as the North Antelope Coal Mine. He also helped his parents on the ranch. In April of 1952 he met Eleanor Garrett. They were united in marriage on May 23, 1954 in Newcastle, WY. To this union 4 children were born: Douglas, Linda, Cindy, and Nancy. Following their marriage, Virgil and Eleanor lived on the home ranch and later moved to Nisland where they first raised Hereford cows, and later sheep. In 1961 they began their Grade A dairy farm which they operated until 1998 when the moved into Newell. Virgil loved the farm and ranch life, and he enjoyed gardening and sharing the harvest with his family and friends in town. He also liked fishing, camping, and taking long wagon trail rides with his family. He was always a cowboy at heart and he loved being around his horses. He shared this passion with many of his family. Virgil was an active member of the Lions Club, and the American Legion Post 233 for 52 years. He also considered himself a member of the Tea Party. He was a proud American and Veteran, and this past June he was honored to participate with a group of area veterans who were selected to go to Washington DC to see the World War II Memorial. He will be missed by his many good friends, especially his close friends Bill Keiry and Bob Bartels and most of all his best buddy and brother, Vernon. Virgil is survived by his wife, Eleanor of Newell; son, Douglas of Casper WY; daughters, Linda (Mike) Richter of Whitewood, Cindy (Victor) Valencia of Grand Terrace CA, Nancy (Lloyd) Newman of Billings MT; several grandchildren and great grandchildren; brothers, Vernon (Anna) Simmons of Newcastle WY, and Donald (and friend Karen Abbas) Simmons of Newcastle WY. He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Leo, Elvin; and sisters, Hazel Niemcyk, and Luella Mahoney.
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