John (Jay or JB) Bradley Simmons passed away on December 9th in Savannah, GA. Jay turned 80 on October 1st but his last year looked nothing like his first 79. This man knew how to do it and do it right. Born in Omaha, Nebraska in 1939 he and his brother Grant raised hell wherever they went. The kind people of Omaha are probably still recovering from the Simmons boys’ antics.
Jay served in the US Army, was an All-American college football player, made it to the NFL as a member of the Green Bay Packers, served as a police officer in Colorado, and even drove an 18-wheeler. Obviously, the man could entertain a crowd for hours. And that is exactly what Jay did; he owned the room. Jay never met a stranger. If you were around him, even if just in line waiting for a coffee, you would remember him. Probably because he says he “likes coffee like he likes his women: light and sweet”. Jay was a true character that successfully embarrassed his step kids at AAU, high school games in Madison Connecticut and college basketball games with such colorful cheering that he was escorted out of gymnasiums across the country. Jay somehow had a way of disarming everyone around him. Love him or not, he was entertaining.
Jay met his 7th wife (Suzanne Simmons) back before he met his first wife. It’s a long story, but approximately 25 years ago, in Southport Connecticut, they found each other again and have been inseparable since. To say Jay loved Suzanne would be an understatement.
Jay cried at sweet commercials, yelled at political shows, and was a passionate fan of almost any sport that found airtime on ESPN. He was a world-class critic of officiating regardless of the day, sport or home team. Jay loved his toys, even if he quickly tired of them. One day it was a motorcycle, the next a boat, then a grow-herbs-under-a-lamp, play the drums, the guitar, gaming consoles, kitchen gadgets. He loved ordering things, getting mail, putting things together, figuring them out then moving on.
But mostly, he liked to brag about his family. If you sat next to him at lunch you would know everything about those closest to him within 15 minutes. Whether it was his 6’4” wife Suzanne who is one of the most talented illustrators in the world or his younger brother Grant, a former Denver Rocket point guard. Jay’s pride in his step-children was contagious, Annie in Houston who is driving Suzanne’s business and married to a former pro-baseball player, his amazing 3 year old grand-daughter, Jeff in Savannah working the cranes at the port and his two awesome kids playing sports and killing it in school and Vallerie in Boston making ads that you see on TV and taking crazy trips with her husband.
Jay lived many lives - his kids Bradley and Michelle weren’t lucky enough to know him as well as his step-kids, but we are sure they miss him.
Jay lived life to the fullest. He had zero regrets. Any other person would need 200 years to do what Jay did. And when the time finally came to reflect on it all, there is one thing we can say for sure: The only thing bigger than Jay’s personality was his heart. He loved his family more than can be expressed with words. We miss him dearly and always will.
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