Simmons, Janis P.

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  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


8 replies on “Simmons, Janis P.”

Rick & Glynda Bergmann says:

Lucinda, we are so sorry to hear of the loss of your dear mother. Please know we are praying for you and your family to find peace at this difficult time. Much love to you!

amyana trigg says:

I am so sorry to hear of Janis’ death but I know she will be greeted in Heaven and her life there will be joyfully painfree.
I’ll miss her very much. she was a wonderful Alpha Phi sister and suite-mate at North Texas and we shared many happy experiences. My deepest sympathy to her entire earthly family and blessings at this sad time.

Sue Cook says:

I’ve known Janis for so long since our Alpha Phi days. We have all kept up with each other over the years; the last time I saw her, I was so amazed at her attitude; she seemed determined to make the best of her disease. I know things got worse in recent years, and my thoughts and prayers are with her family.

Jada Reed-Bradix says:

Hello Lucinda, my prayers are with you and your family!

Maureen Peters says:

Janis’ love of language and good stories inspired me, along with her courage during this long illness. She delighted many of us with readings from a book of Texas Christmas storiesq, written in the early half of the 20th century. She also shared her delight of her granddaughters.
Janis shared her enthusiasm for Ghost Ranch with us, and I can see her spirit there now.
Many hugs to the family, Maureen

pat pate says:

Janis was a sweet friend and I have happy memories of times together when we were young. My deepest sympathy to the family.

Dorothy Cheairs says:

Sorry to hear. Bruce and Janis were friends of ours. I grew up with Bruce. Ken and I see him at High School reunions in Orange. Janis was truly a writer.

Terry Bailey says:

I am saddened to learn of the loss of my childhood friend and Alpha Phi sister. We have had a long history together and I will always cherish those memories. I know the last few years hace been difficult but handled with dignity and grace. Lucinda, my thoughts, prayers and love are with you and your family.

Terry Butler Bailey

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