American Veteran 09

Merton William Simmons

September 19, 1932 ~ July 29, 2022 (age 89)


Merton William Simmons was born on Sept 19, 1932

Mert recounted stories of growing up in the wilds of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. A simple but hard life in a small home without running water or electricity. He told stories of his unbridled youthful energy and his uncontainable mischief. His rural roots, hard work and passion for the wilderness around him would form the rest of his life.
He was drafted into the Army for the Korean War and although he didn’t speak much of his tours in Korea, Japan or Vietnam, he proudly served for 24 years. He spent 22 of those years on Air Force Bases with Army Air Defense Command (ARADCOM.) He achieved the rank of Command Sgt Major and wore the distinction with honor.
He married and had three children, a daughter Pat, and two sons Jim and Ron, but alas, the marriage was incompatible and dissolved while Mert was serving overseas. 
When he returned, he was stationed at Ent Air Force Base in Colorado Springs. There he met Eileen. Within six days they knew they were right for each other and they married January 19, 1968. With her, they raised three wonderful boys, Matthew, Paul and Grant. He retired in 1976 and three years later moved from Colorado Springs to Divide, Colorado.
Mert celebrated the outdoors. We remember taking long drives into the mountains to fish in alpine lakes. Horseback riding. Walking game trails through the White River National Forest. He went hunting every year with his son and whether they harvested a deer or elk or not, they loved the hunt and time together.
At home in Cañon City, he regularly watched the deer and wild turkeys which came down from the hills and ate the bird food that fell from the feeders. He set up a night camera so he could enjoy the bears, foxes and other wildlife that came to drink from the birdbaths. Although he would never admit to being an ecologically conscious liberal, these things were sacred to him and he fought vehemently to protect the wilderness.
Dad was a compassionate father who worked hard to provide for us. We always felt his presence and his love. He was proud of his family and the paths we chose. He fostered thinking for ourselves which occasionally came back to bite him. We didn’t always agree politically, but he loved us and appreciated that we try to make the world a better place.
He grilled dinner most nights and for as long as we can remember he would apologize for overcooking/undercooking the steaks, although they were nearly all perfect.
Mert and Eileen celebrated 54 years of marriage this year and they loved each other to the last. In his final words, he told us that he loved us.   
Mert exemplified what it means to be a husband, a father, a family man.
He is survived by Eileen, his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren and will be missed dearly.

Mert Simmons died July 29, 2022
A private family memorial will be held at a later date

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