Berniece B. Simmons, 81, died in peace, May 21, 2017 at her home in Saint Marie. She was born Berniece Brister in Vaughn, Mississippi, October 4, 1935 to Buford Morris and Lucille Brister. She was preceded in death by her parents, her three sisters and three brothers, of whom she was the youngest daughter. She was especially fond of her father, who doted on his youngest daughter through the hard times following the Great Depression. Stricken by tuberculosis at age 11, she was nursed to health by her maternal Aunt Mamie, whom she loved dearly. Unable to finish school, she spent her life learning and on July 13, 1983 she received her G.E.D. while in New Orleans.
In the early 1950’s she moved to New Orleans, following her oldest sister, Bell. Her first job was with McCrory’s five and dime on Canal Street. She was married in New Orleans for 18 years before divorce to John R. Simmons, Jr., (b. 9/01/1933, Carthage, MS), who she met through his beloved mother Marie. Of their marriage issued three children and three grandchildren: son, John Keith Simmons; daughter, Deborah Lynette Flores, grandson William Rogers Flores; son, Darwin Clay Simmons, grandson, Devin Alexander Simmons (d. 2007) and Franklin Simmons.
She had a love of the mountains and when opportunity arose followed her dream, left all she knew behind and moved near friends in Livingston, MT. With the help of her son Keith, she arrived August 1989. She was an avid trail hiker into her 70’s and loved to photograph her adventures and tell of the beauty she had seen.
She retired in 2010 at 75 after many years of hard work as a motel desk clerk in Livingston, where she leaves many fine friends and many who knew her for her warmth and kindness. She and her son from New Orleans, arrived in Saint Marie within days of each other just before the snows of 2010-11. She enjoyed her retirement feeding the wild common birds all year and every passing animal, wild and domestic could depend on her kindness. It was her great joy. She loved to keep a beautiful garden. Life was the music in her heart.
She enjoyed beyond measure daily telephoning and e-mailing her friends and relatives near and far. Without their kind friendship, her life would not have been as joyous. She loved them all.
She was an avid reader and spiritual seeker. Her life was devoted to knowing God and His Plan and she grew daily in knowledge and wisdom. She always strove to be an example of God’s Love and to inspire everyone she knew. Her Christian inspirations and devotions were to Mother Mary, St. Michael, St. Therese Lisieux, St. Francis Assisi and St. Pio.
Prayers and Masses are much appreciated. Services will be private. Condolences can be left at bellmortuarymontana.com.