October 21, 1954 - April 3, 2017
Terry Lynn Simmons, age 62, completed his life’s journey on April 3, 2017. He leaves behind his wife, Karen, of 41 years, son Jordan and his wife Lauren, son Adam, daughter Shannon, and two brothers Don and Pete, and their wives Betty and Linda.
Terry was a giant in the legal community, both in his contributions and in his heart. Terry was an ardent defender of nonprofit organizations and tireless champion for the underdog, because he was one himself. Terry hailed from Lampasas, Texas, the youngest child of Bud (M.R.) Simmons and LaVerne Simmons. He worked tirelessly to graduate from Baylor undergraduate and Baylor Law School in a total of five years. His career led him to work for the Baptist Foundation of Texas where he was able to indulge his passion for nonprofit work which then catapulted him to his work on the national stage. Terry’s work there led him to Thompson & Knight, LLP. Terry’s excellence in his field drew clients from near and far. Terry took tremendous pride in utilizing his talents equally for diverse organizations and individuals. Terry’s passion extended equally to everyone.
Terry founded Charitable Accord and worked as the lead lobbyist and strategist in an effort to protect the interests of charities and nonprofits. In defense of the American Council on Gift Annuities, his efforts in organizing charities led to passage of federal legislation that included The Charitable Giving Protection Act of 1995 (which amended the Sherman Antitrust Act), The Philanthropy Protection Act of 1995, and The Charitable Donations Antitrust Act of 1997.
Terry was a prolific writer and speaker, was gifted in breaking down complex matters and translating legalese into understandable layman’s language. His dedication to social justice and giving voice to those who had no advocate was his driving passion. His strong leadership style and quick sense of humor will be sorely missed. Terry was a member of the Texas, Colorado, and New York state bars as well as the United States Supreme Court in 1996. He was honored with being named one of The Best Lawyers in America from 2004 – 2017, the Top 100 Attorneys in America by Worth Magazine from 2005-2006, and one of Texas Super Lawyers from 2003 – 2011. Terry became senior partner at Thompson & Knight, LLP and relished with pride the status of working for a world class law firm. The firm became more than a cadre of business associates and evolved into a family for Terry who offered aid and friendship long after his accident.
Terry has been an active member of Royal Lane Baptist Church since 1988— deacon, deacon chair, and Sunday School teacher. He was a proud card carrying member of Mensa and the NAACP, whose commitment to inclusion would never be in question. Terry loved ice cream and sports; literature and music; to love and to laugh. He thought politics was a contact sport, and closely followed current events. He told stories and jokes and always relished the opportunity to display his wit. Terry kept his sense of humor to the very end, stating that “I have so many things wrong with me that when I die, they’ll have to use the long form death certificate”; a tax lawyer to the end. He was a modern renaissance man.
With all of his professional accomplishments, Terry’s greatest pride and joy resided in the delight of his three children. They came up in every conversation he ever had, and he was quite proud of who each of them has become. Terry always said he “wanted to do well so that his kids could do good”, and that he did.
A service to celebrate Terry’s life will be held at Royal Lane Baptist Church at 4:00 PM on Friday, April 7, 2017. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Terry’s honor to the Baylor University School of Law, The American Council on Gift Annuities – Terry L. Simmons Scholarship Fund, the Southern Poverty Law Center, or the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
Arrangements are under the direction of: ARIA Cremation Service & Funeral Home 10116 E. NW Highway Dallas, Texas 75238 214.340.8008