Gordon Paul Simmons: May 24, 1930 – January 9, 2023

Gordon Paul Simmons beloved husband, father and friend passed away January 9, 2023 at 92 years young. He had battled three~consecutive medical punches in December that just wore him out. Gordon was born in his family home in Clinton on 5/24/30 to Theodore (Teddy) and Astrid (Esther) Simmons and continued to live his entire life in Clinton.

Gordon and his two older brothers Melvin and Henry enjoyed growing up on their parent’s farm. There was a lot of hard work but also many cars and various equipment to drive or rebuild to keep Gordon busy. In 1946 Gordon, Melvin, Henry and their dad Teddy built Simmons Garage and Towing in Clinton with help from local carpenters. Gordon was still in High School but rememberedmany towing adventures he went on before graduating. After numerous, very funny antics in High school, many “shop” classes and the benefits of being a friend of the principal and a very good athlete, he graduated from Langley High School in 1949.

After graduation Gordon worked full time at Simmons Garage & Towing even building their first tow truck! They also became a Ford dealership which made dad a Ford man through and through! Gordon was drafted into the Korean War in 1951 and spent time as a vehicle repairman keeping all their trucks running. After returning from the war Gordon went back to work at Simmons Garage & Towing and married his high school sweetheart Shirley Ann Novarra on 6/26/54. They built their family home on Humphrey Rd in Clinton this same year. In 1962 they adopted their daughter Sonya and in 1965 they adopted their other daughter Sharon. Gordon loved attending both of his girl’s athletic games and horse events. He was their biggest supporter, even participating in some wild horse events at the Island County Fair himself. When he could drag himself away from work his favorite place to relax was Reno or Las Vegas. He truly was the luckiest person I’ve ever met at the slots! He always thought of his girls when going on vacation and would often make sure the trips involved a stop in Disneyland too.

Gordon and his brother Melvin operated Simmons Garage & Towing until 1977 when Gordon bought Mel out. Gordon and Shirley continued to run garage and towing until his daughter Sonya & Gary Peterson (his son in law and 18-year employee) purchased the business so he could maybe try to retire at 81 years old! Gordon didn’t know how to not work and would still listen to the police scanner all night long in case there was an accident and a tow to go on. If he heard there was a tow, he would call Gary to see if he needed help in the middle of the night! He did finally find time to enjoy working on his bull dozer, back hoe, tractor, dump truck and fire truck during his short retirement.

Gordon was honored as a Hometown Hero in 2009, was inducted into the Tow Truck Hall of Fame in Chattanooga Tenn. in 2010, and honored for being the longest member (64 years in 2010) of AAA Roadside Assistance. As of 2022, Simmons Towing has been the longest AAA provider in the State of Washington at 77 years. He was also very proud of being a South Whidbey Volunteer Firefighter for 46 years. He really did not want to retire from firefighting so when he aged out as a volunteer, he bought his own fire truck so he could keep on driving one & spraying water on mom’s garden with the fire hose! I’m not sure she really appreciated it. Gordon’s daughters were the pride and joy of his life as he would tell everyone who visited him. Recently he was extremely overjoyed to have celebrated the holidays with friends & family at his home on Dec 10, 2022. Gordon has also been a member of St Peters Lutheran church in Clinton for 92 years. A church where his grandparents were founding members in 1901 and where he will be laid to rest with his extended family.

Gordon was preceded in death by his wife Shirley and his brothers Melvin and Henry and his son in law Gary Eickhoff. He is survived by his daughter Sharon and his daughter Sonya {Gary) and his beloved grandchildren Makenzie and Jonathon (Lilly) Peterson. The family would like to sincerely thank all of his caregivers who took such great care of dad over the years. Dad, we all loved you …your big welcoming smile, your twinkling eyes and all the good you did for so many. Your big heart and your faithful service to your community for so many years is a standout tribute to be remembered. We are so fortunate to call you dad – thank you for everything you have done for us but mostly for bringing us into your life with mom and loving us.

A memorial will be held at 11 am Friday January 27, 2023 at Trinity Lutheran Church at: 18341 SR-525 Freeland WA. All are welcome to attend. Reception immediately following the service and afterwards a procession to graveside burial with military honor guard at St Peters Lutheran Church in Clinton aboard his old favorite Simmons Towing flatbed. Thank you to Whidbey Memorial for all arrangements. family and friends are encouraged to share memories and condolences at www.whidbeymemorial.com.