Mecklenburg native Simmons ascended to DGIF’s top post
Family, friends and extended family from within the ranks of law enforcement, both past and present, are mourning the death of a Mecklenburg County native that once served as the highest ranking officer with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF).
Gerald P. Simmons, a resident of Powhatan and formerly of Union Level, died Tuesday, Nov. 29. Simmons was 87.
Simmons enjoyed a stellar career with DGIF, having the distinction at the time of his ascension through the ranks of DGIF as the lone sworn officer that began his career as a game warden and worked his way upward to the highest ranking post within DGIF.
Simmons enjoyed a career spanning more than three decades before announcing his retirement in the early 1990s.
Simmons forged a number of lifelong friendships during his tenure with DGIF and is recalled with much love and admiration as a man committed to the service entrusted to him by the Commonwealth of Virginia and to those with whom he served during key, pivotal formative years of expansion and growth for law enforcement statewide.
“He was made for that job, and that job was made for him,” said Sammy Simmons Sr., brother to Gerald Simmons and a current resident of South Hill, who makes no attempt to suppress the deep and abiding admiration and affection he holds dear for his older brother, who was also a lifelong friend and mentor to the younger Simmons.
“He joined the United States Army at a young age,” Simmons recalled, adding, “After his return to Mecklenburg County when I was around 7 years old, Gerald, who played professional baseball in the army, joined a team in Chase City.”
Regarding his brother’s career with DGIF, Simmons noted that, “He truly worked his way up to colonel. He did not attend college, but he later took courses.
“He was self-educated and was loved and respected by many At a retirement dinner held in his honor, I was in awe of the people in attendance. FBI, Secret Service, law enforcement from state, local and county levels, they were all in attendance.
“My brother was my hero. He earned your respect, and he made an impression wherever he went. Although he had relocated to Powhatan many years ago, he always considered Mecklenburg County his home. He will be loved and missed by many.”
A memorial service is scheduled to take place Thursday, Dec. 8, at 7 p.m. at Bennett and Barden Funeral Home located in Powhatan.