Alfred Elwood “Spike” Simmons, 85, died on Wednesday, July 30, 2014, at his home in Lakeside following a long illness. A memorial service and potluck lunch will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 16, at the Elks Lodge in Holbrook, with military honors served by the Holbrook American Legion. There will be no burial following the service. His remains will be scattered over the community he loved, Holbrook, in accordance with his wishes.
Spike was born on Dec. 19, 1928, in the home of his parents, Lawrence and Clara Simmons, in Redwood Valley, Calif. He grew up on his family’s farm, and attended a boarding high school near Fresno, Calif.
After high school, Spike attended college for two years before joining the United States Air Force in 1951, where he would eventually decide to serve until retirement.
While in the Air Force, he achieved the rank of technical sergeant, working as a radar technician. He was proud to have been part of the team that built the Air Force’s B-52 bomber radar scoring site in Holbrook in the late 1960s, the location where he finished his Air Force career. By this time, Holbrook had grown on him and he decided to make the community his permanent home.
Prior to moving to Holbrook, he served at an Air Force site in the Black Hills region of South Dakota, and there met his wife, Alice Quiver, with whom he shared four children and three stepchildren. While living in the town of Interior, he briefly operated a restaurant and served as the town’s mayor. When Spike relocated to Holbrook, he brought his family with him.
After retiring from the Air Force, he worked the next 20 years as a bartender in Holbrook. This was followed by a 13-year run as a Holbrook city councilman, a span he believed was longer than any previous to him. He also served many years with the Little Colorado River Plateau Resource Conservation and Development Area and other civic organizations, including the Elks Lodge and the American Legion. Civic service was profoundly meaningful to Spike, who believed it was his duty to serve the community.
Spike devoted decades of time to the collection of matchbook covers from throughout the country. He was a voracious reader, possessing thousands of volumes of books and periodicals. He was a child of the Great Depression and this made a lifelong impression on him, as he was always conscious of resources and the need to protect them. He last owned a motor vehicle in 1975, believing that he did not need a vehicle. Those in Holbrook who did not personally know him were likely to know him by his silver-haired flattop haircut and the daily sightings of him walking from one end of Holbrook to the other.
He was a student of history and a lover of classical music. He spoke several languages, including Spanish, Russian, Japanese and Lakota Sioux. He opened his home to the occasional stray cat and came to be a real cat aficionado.
Survivors include his daughter Doreen Ann Simmons of Victoria, Texas; his daughter Irene Mae Simmons of Albuquerque, N.M.; his son Floyd Lawrence Simmons of Lakeside; his daughter Francine Ann Simmons of Peoria; his son Gordon Simmons of Charleston, W.Va.; his son Paul Simmons of Texas; his stepdaughter Vivian Gabaldon of Albuquerque; his stepdaughter Jeanette Garlinger of Phoenix; and his stepson Walter Quigley of Phoenix.