IRVINGTON––Frances Douglas Chase Simmons, 90, of Irvington passed away July 18, 2018.
She was born in White Stone on August 27, 1927, to Charles Carter Chase and Elizabeth Constable Chase.
She attended elementary school in White Stone; high school in Garner, N.C.; and college at Randolph Macon Woman’s College in Lynchburg. She was trained as a medical technician and worked at the University of Virginia Hospital.
She gave up her medical career to become a wife and homemaker and moved to Irvington to support her husband, the late C. Jackson Simmons, in building his law practice in White Stone.
The couple was instrumental in re-establishing Chesapeake Academy in Irvington in 1965. Mrs. Simmons was very involved in the school, organizing and running horse shows, auctions and other fundraising events for more than a decade.
She was an avid gardener who was a past president and longtime member of the Garden Club of the Northern Neck. She took great pride in the grounds and gardens of her home. Through the years during Historic Garden Week, she served in the forefront making arrangements or serving as a hostess for area tours.
She served as the Lancaster County chairman for the Northern Neck Friends of Stratford and was a member of the Northern Neck of Virginia Historical Society. She patiently supported her husband’s passion for the history of the Northern Neck and served as editor of his two books, Irvington, the First Generation and Speaking of the Northern Neck.
Mrs. Simmons was a longtime member of Grace Episcopal Church in Kilmarnock and more recently attended All Saints Anglican Church in Saluda.
Harkening back to her roots as a farm girl, she was always supportive of the myriad of pets that her children would bring home including squirrels, quail, ducks, fish and cats. She was an extraordinary caregiver to the family’s ponies with one living to the ripe old age of 38. She supported her children in all things equestrian, including the Northern Neck Pony Club and an untold number of horse shows.
Although elegant and refined, she never shied away from hard work and would take on any task.
Despite the trials of living a long life, she kept her sense of humor until the end, always making a joke about her situation to lighten the mood, no matter how dire the circumstances.
She was predeceased by her husband, C. Jackson Simmons, and dear family friend and companion, Billy Rowe, as well as her parents and two brothers, Rawleigh Chase (who died as a child) and William Chase.
She leaves behind a son, J. Rawleigh Simmons and wife, Susan, of Wicomico Church; a daughter, Sarah L. Simmons of Atlanta, Ga.; and grandchildren, Spencer Nicholson of Irvington, and Chas Faulkner and Emory Simmons of Wicomico Church.
She also is survived by her sister, Betty Chase Corbett; two nephews, and numerous cousins.
A funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. Friday, July 27, at Grace Episcopal Church with burial to follow in the church cemetery. The family will receive friends at Currie Funeral Home in Kilmarnock from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, July 26.
Memorial donations may be made to the C. Jackson Simmons Scholarship Fund at Chesapeake Academy, P.O. Box 8, Irvington, VA 22480; or to a local charity of your choice.
Currie Funeral Home LLC of Kilmarnock is handling the arrangements.