August 17, 1936 - March 14, 2014
Janis Payne Simmons, 77, of Dallas, TX, passed away peacefully on Friday, March 14, 2014, following a long battle with Parkinson ’s disease. She was born August 17, 1936 in Teague, TX to Windrow and Donnie (Thomas) Payne.
Ms. Simmons grew up in San Augustine, TX and graduated from San Augustine High School in 1954 where she was a cheerleader. Ms. Simmons graduated from Draughon’s Business College and also earned a BBA at North Texas State University. In her early years, she lived in Houston and Greenville, TX, and later settled in Dallas where she resided for over 40 years. She was married for 30 years and had one daughter, Lucinda.
Ms. Simmons loved the English language and was inspired by short stories, poetry and Texas writers. She taught English and writing at MacArthur High School in Irving, TX, St. Thomas Aquinas School in Dallas and Eastfield College in Mesquite, TX. She often served as a writing coach to foreign-born students, including refugees. She taught business writing programs for the workplace and acted as a writing coach to UT Dallas Executive MBA students. She believed words could be magical and that we should learn to use them well in our daily communications. She inspired novice writers to put their memories into words and write about their life experiences.
Ms. Simmons loved the Presbyterian Church and had served as an elder and clerk of the Session at Northridge Presbyterian Church, Dallas, and more recently was an active member of Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church, also in Dallas. She was devoted to Ghost Ranch, a national conference center owned by the Presbyterian Church in Abiquiu, NM where artist Georgia O’Keefe lived for many years while creating some her most famous works. Ms. Simmons served on the National Ghost Ranch Foundation board.
Ms. Simmons is survived by her daughter, Lucinda Cummins and husband Tony, granddaughters Caitlin and Grace, all of Dallas, TX; sister Joye Johnson and husband K.W. of Temple, TX, nephews Kelley Johnson of Washington, D.C., Clay Johnson and wife Pamela, and grand-nephew, Mack, of Atascosita, TX, other extended family members and her former husband, E. Bruce Simmons of Bullard, TX.
A Memorial Service will held on Friday, will be held on Friday, March 21 at 11:00 a.m. at Northridge Presbyterian Church, 6920 Bob-O-Link Drive in the Lakewood area of Dallas.
Memorial gifts should be made In Her Honor to the National Ghost Ranch Foundation and mailed to Ghost Ranch, HC 77 Box 11, Abiquiu NM, 87510 or online at ghostranch.org indicating that the gift is for the Foundation.Arrangements are under the direction of: ARIA Cremation Service & Funeral Home 10116 E. NW Highway Dallas, Texas 75238 214.340.8008
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