Whimsical 10

Thomas Patrick Simmons

October 8, 1942 ~ July 2, 2022 (age 79)


Thomas Patrick “Pat” Simmons, 79, left this life on Saturday, July 2, 2022, at his home in Metairie, Louisiana, leaving behind his wife, his soulmate, his love of his life, his mermaid for over 24 years, Denise (Monk) Simmons. He also leaves behind a step-daughter, Desiree (Joe) Bell-Hillmann of Dominica, Caribbean, and two grandsons that are more like his own children than grandsons, Colton Joseph Bell-currently stationed at Camp Pendleton, California and Hunter Bo James Bell of the home. He is also survived by a great-grandson, Ashton Joseph Bell of Michigan; a younger sister, Marliz (David) Radecker of Slidell, Louisiana; and numerous cousins scattered throughout the southern states. He was preceded in death by his parents, Albert Colon Simmons and Lovinia (Rudolf) Simmons.
Pat was born at home in Harvey, Louisiana, and jokingly talked about the home being torn down not too long after, swearing it was not due to his birth for the home’s demise. Not long after he was born, he and his parents moved to mid-city New Orleans, to a house located on Palmyra, where he spent days going with his father out to stock all the tug boats on the Mississippi, causing a lifelong love of the water, and a childhood spent playing with friends on the neutral grounds of the neighborhood, riding their bicycles freely all over the city, which was largely undeveloped at the time, affording the ability to go rabbit hunting and in order to make a little money, he and his buddies would catch snakes to sell. He told of one time they had been extremely productive in their bagging of snakes to sell, and opted to take the streetcar back home. It seems, however, that the bag was not quite as secure as they had thought. Pat laughed that as a result, the entire streetcar was emptied in less than 30 seconds! Upon questioning, it was left somewhat debatable as to if the bag was secured well on purpose or not, but with a smile, Pat confirmed that he and his two buddies were banned from streetcars for a year after that.
Pat attended high school on Banks Street in New Orleans before joining the U. S. Army in February 1960, and serving overseas, mostly in Germany, as an Armored Mechanic Crewman, specializing in tanks and working as a Green Beret Specialist. Upon release from the U. S. Army, Pat first took a job with Sears until he was hired by the New Orleans Fire Department, working mostly at Station Nine in the French Quarter until his retirement from NOFD. Finding retirement too sedate for his liking, he did an odd number of jobs to keep himself busy, managing a motorcycle shop, working for Lafarge Concrete, driving 18 wheelers across the country, he became a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor, and at 57, he decided to go back to school and study for his Paramedic. He first worked EMS for New Orleans Health and then for Westwego EMS.
Pat had unquestionable love for his wife and family. He went from full time to part time so that he was able to care for his aging parents. He stepped up to the plate without a single hesitation to help raise his pride and joy grandsons, from changing diapers to logging hundreds of thousands of miles chauffeuring them to and from school, band, dance, after school activities. No matter what Pat was doing “for a living” he remained true to his pirate nature, gravitating to the ocean and fishing, from that childhood of going to the tug boats with his father, to having his own skiff for a time, to having a boat and fishing until his physical limitations finally hindered him. A lifelong fisherman, he bragged that he got his “greatest catch of his life”… the love of his life, his best friend, his soulmate, his very own mermaid, Denise. Being eighteen and a half years her senior used to have him question how he was able to “land this love of his life”…. It never should have. Denise was as, if not more amazed at this wonderful man, he could do anything, fix anything, was as strong as a bull, seemed to have priorities that were both rare and in sync with her own.. she found herself deeply in love with him from the beginning, and found his love for her powerful, healing, magical. His devotion to her and family came first, his quick mind and humor was highly intoxicating, so much so that they were married in an Irish Ceremony next to a pool of water, pledging in their vows to love each other for “Ten Thousand Lifetimes”…. a vow that continues.
Pat was known for his various interests in addition to fishing and scuba diving. Many an early morning frost would find him in a duck blind at the mouth of the river, or pheasant or wild turkey hunting. In the passage of youth, he sustained a passion for motorcycles and fast cars, owning hundreds of them over a lifetime. He was a member to the Corvette club for many years. This passion for speed resulted in more than a few citations-once even landing him a weekend in jail as a result. He later confessed that the concept of spending a weekend in a cell was almost terrifying to him and his free spirit…until he arrived there, only to find that his supervisor with the New Orleans Fire Department had made a few calls ahead of his arrival and surprisingly, instead of sitting in a cell all weekend, he spent the entire weekend playing cards with his jailers, eating po’boys until his release back to work Monday morning. He said the entire experience left enough of an impression on him that it converted him from anymore racing in City Park or on streets to raceways and racetracks from that point on, however.
It was ironic that it was after his racing days that he was involved in a motorcycle accident in which he was broadsided by a car, and as a result, spent months in the hospital with multiple leg surgeries and followed by the need to wear a leg brace and use crutches for years. Somewhat stubborn and headstrong, and possessing a great mechanical mind, he quickly figured a way to secure his crutches to the side of his motorcycle, modified a few controls and was back riding his motorcycle less than a week after his discharge from the hospital. It is no doubt that this lifelong love of speed and adrenaline is at least in part to what led him to his love and enjoyment of flying and becoming a pilot. He loved the aerobatics and barrel rolls (although some of his passengers’ stomachs did not appreciate these skills as much.)
Pat truly believed in and loved his country, the things she stands for, he was proud of the service he had given her and was grateful to all others that served to protect her. He felt that this country offers freedoms and a life of hard work made easier by clever thinking and a way to live off the land not known to many of us today. Pat raised epic gardens, fished, hunted, was a lifelong member of the NRA, enjoyed the freedom of riding motorcycles, and loved his brothers in The Red Knights Motorcycle Club LA 1-serving as a Charter Member. Some of his greatest memories were of riding his motorcycle, teaching his mermaid to ride at this side, and them riding many years together with the Red Knights and with their dearest friend, John Deming, to Sturgis and covering many states. Other memories he treasured were those spent teaching his grandsons, Colton and Bo to fish (often pulling them out of school to play hooky to learn these other valuable lessons in life), and taking them deer hunting with family in west Texas, swapping stories around the campfire, passing on his cooking skills and lifelong knowledge to them. They were his pride and joy.
His love for hunting wildlife was a stark contrast to the way animals gravitated to him. He found love and purpose in his fur babies, loving them so much that he never wanted to leave them at home or in the care of others. At one point, he even had one of his corgis, Tegan, ride his Harley with him. He found rescues that needed extra attention and love and then surrounded himself with his fur babies and spoiled them all completely rotten.
Pat knew and often quoted scriptures from the Bible and in more recent years, with physical limitations hindering him on getting out to socialize, social media presented him with the ability and he enjoyed almost a daily talk with one of his cousins, talking about the Bible.
Pat was the finest cook and those that were fortunate enough to know and experience his culinary delights were always amazed at the dishes he created; however, he was not to be rushed and could never prepare a meal quickly, you see, his cooking was not only about the end result taste, but was an art to him, one that he had perfected over the years and one that was a gift to others, an act of love, and he was a perfectionist about it. Making seafood gumbo was nothing short of a three-day process and Thanksgiving and Christmas found him making all the main dishes, but especially his homemade noodles. The family always knew that the holiday dinner would be delayed by at least one to two hours because of the dedication to those homemade noodles, so much so that they finally started giving him a false start time for the meal time, but they loved them and they were worth the wait.
Pat has left a legacy of love, family, faith and strength especially in the face of adversity, he has left each of us with memories to sustain us until we meet again.
“Lay down, Your sweet and weary head, The night is falling, You have come to journey’s end, Sleep now. And dream of the ones who came before, They are calling, From across the distant shore.
What can you see, On the horizon? Why do the white gulls call? Across the sea, A pale moon rises, The ships have come to carry you home.
And all will turn, to silver glass, A light on the water, All Souls pass.
Hope fades. Into the world of night, Through shadows falling, Out of memory and time. Don’t say, We have come now to the end. White shores are calling. You and I will meet again. And you’ll be here in my arms, Just sleeping. And all will turn to silver glass, A light on the water, Grey ships pass, into the west.”
Relatives and friends are invited to attend the Funeral Services at Garden of Memories Funeral Home, 4900 Airline Drive Metairie, LA 70001 on Thursday, July 14, 2022. Visitation will begin at 10:00 am with a Service starting at 12:00 Noon. Online condolences may be offered at www.gardenofmemoriesmetairie.com.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Thomas Patrick Simmons, please visit our floral store.


July 14, 2022

10:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Garden of Memories Funeral Home
4900 Airline Drive
Metairie, LA 70001

July 14, 2022

12:00 PM
Garden of Memories Funeral Home
4900 Airline Drive
Metairie, LA 70001

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