Always tenacious and outgoing, Margaret Jane Brown Simmons was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, on April 9, 1936, and left our world on January 22, 2021, at the age of 84. Around the age of 12, her family moved to Houston so that her father would have steady work as a painter at The Shamrock. In Margaret’s senior year at Lamar High School, while ice skating with some friends and hanging on for dear life to the railings, she met her future husband, Gay Simmons, who would have a long and distinguished career with the Houston Fire Department—retiring as District Chief in 1988. Margaret and Gay raised two children and were close friends until his death.
Margaret learned the custom drapery business along the way and eventually opened her own business—Humble Drapery Shop on Main Street. She was an active member of American Business Women’s Association, Artesian Chapter—serving as president, named ABWA Woman of the Year, and meeting many lifelong friends. In later years she obtained her real estate license and worked in that field until she retired, when she moved to a home in the Heights next to her daughter and son-in-law.
The apple of her father’s eye, Margaret inherited his talent for canvas art and always had an oil painting in progress, but her favorite pastime was fishing and always had her rods and a go-bag at the ready. She also loved camping, bottle hunting and collecting, gardening (consulting the Farmers’ Almanac each year), reading and long weekends at the beach or lake with her many friends. Margaret dearly loved and often reminisced about the close-knit neighborhood where she raised her children—Belleau Woods, along the San Jacinto River—where she frequently fished at the neighborhood park after putting her kids on the bus to school. She expressed her wishes later in life that her ashes be spread along those banks.
Margaret was a loving mother and leaves behind her devoted children—her son Roy Simmons, his wife, Bettie Ann Simmons, daughter, Kelly Simmons, and her husband, Keith Crane. Margaret and her younger brother, the late Jim Brown of Tuscaloosa, were very close their entire lives. She also dearly loved the beautiful woman who married her brother, Mary Anne Brown, whom she considered a sister and best friend. Just a few other important family and friends in Margaret’s life were Jason Brown, Patrick Brown, Clara Simmons, the late Sara Raines, the late Berlene Ingram, the late Emily Mitchell, Gayle Bellomy, Andy Mitchell, Sherry Bennett, Pattie Terrell, Tom Nickolls, Ray Smith and Phillis Unrein, and the Guerrero and Izaguirre families for always treating her as one of their own.
Margaret loved her children, but they are pretty sure she loved her dog, Sedona, most of all. Margaret’s dogs and cats were always rescued directly from the streets, and the family would like to honor her lifelong love for animals by suggesting a donation in her honor to K-9 Angels Rescue in Houston or another nonprofit of your choice. The family will privately celebrate Margaret’s life, and we invite you all to remember her in your own meaningful way. We love you, Mom.
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