Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Happy Birthday

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 45 degrees, high 75 degrees,  Partly cloudy with a chance of rain

On this date, May 9, 1943, Sunday, Mother's Day, Nannie and Claude Simmons were blessed with their second child, Jerald David. Jerald grew up the way most kids did back in the 40's and 50's, working odd jobs at a young age, going to school, helping his parents out with chores around the house, and being the big brother to his sisters and brothers that followed. Jerald grew up with a strong since of family and always tried to see or talk with them as often as he could throughout his life.
I met Jerald and started dating him in March 1963. May 28th of that year, on my birthday, he proposed. We were married July 2, 1963. We used to laugh about me being the only odd name on our marriage certificate because our preacher was also a Simmons along with Jerald and our witnesses. Jerald was always trying to earn more money while working and to further his education so he went to Central Florida Community College in Ocala and earned his Associate Of Science degree in 1981. He was a member of Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Fraternity while there. In 1991 he was registered with the National Registry of Radiation Protection Technologist and attained his Bachelor of Science in Applied Science and Technology in 1995. He completed SRO Management Certification Training at STP in1998. In addition to being a wonderful protector and provider for his family, he was an avid reader, loved college football, world events, and music. Jerald could cross stitch and crochet better than me. Last but not least, he was famous for his never ending “to do" lists. I am still trying to finish the four he had going when we moved in to our house in Athens and I hope to complete them before the end of this year. Jerald worked many different jobs over the years but his main love was nuclear power. In the nuclear business, he was known for his fairness and ability to efficiently manage large projects; as a result he was highly respected by co-workers and colleagues. He worked in several of the power plants in our country over the years. He took early retirement from STP in the Spring of 2000. I did not know until he signed the papers that he would go through with it. I thought that we would start our travels then but he had another surprise for me, we were going to New York State so in less than 2 weeks of retirement he was working again. Did I mention he loved the nuclear business? He worked other plants until 2004 when we took a long scenic trip through many western states that Spring and Summer. I am so thankful we were able to make the tour because that was our first and only major trip in our RV. He could not resist working and so I let him do what he loved most. We took many short trips to see family and explore the areas where family lived so he was content with that. Jerald was asked to work at STP in 2010. He wanted to work one more outage with the people there as he enjoyed working with them before his "retirement" in 2000. Jerald was sick then and thought he had the flu, better known in nuclear circles as outage crud, but he never recovered. He displayed many symptoms of his disease and was misdiagnosed by more than one specialist until we stopped in Athens, Al in the early Fall .We bought a home, intending only to stay long enough to get his congestive heart problem under control and plan another trip across country, hopefully making it all the way to Alaska this time. We thought. Jerald was diagnosed with Amyloidosis in April 2011. He started treatments soon after, including having a pacemaker put in to assist his heart. Time was a big factor so he was treated aggressively for the disease. He was so sick and had lost so much weight that his body was unable to respond to the treatment as everyone hoped he would. Jerald wanted to win this battle and he gave all he had left in him to give.
Jerald would have been 69 today. We celebrate his birthday today because he will always be here with us, in our hearts and memories. I remember the preacher saying to us on our wedding day that our rings were a circle with no beginning and no end so symbolizing our marriage and love for each other. Preacher Simmons had no idea how prophetic those words would be to Jerald and me throughout our 48 years together. On this day your family celebrates the wonderful person you are. Happy Birthday! We were so blessed to be a part of your life.

We love you,

“Your girls”

More later, be safe.

Today's Town – Waterloo, Alabama Where Eagles Soar

Not all who wander are lost.

Just a few of Dad's favorite photos:

This is how we all should remember him. He loved life and his family more than anything.

1 comment:

Terri said...

Happy Birthday Dad. If only I could talk to you and hug you one more time, I'd never let go.