There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love. Eugene "Joe" Simmons asked for so little but gave so very much. Akicita Wakanyeja Awayanka, A soldier who protects children, was also a man who loved his friends.
Eugene J. Simmons was born on June 10, 1971 in Scottsbluff, NE to Eugene L. Simmons and Marjorie White Bear Claws. On November 22,2020 Eugene made his journey to the spirit world.
Eugene “Joe’ Simmons is preceded in death by his Grandfather George Simmons, Grandmother Mary Simmons, Father Eugene L. Simmons, Uncle Virgil Simmons, Stepmother Leanne Barret, Grandfather, Lyle White Bear Claws, Grandmother, Phoebe Thunder Horse.
Eugene is survived by his five children Candace Walahoski of Lincoln, NE, Josie Shea of Lincoln, NE, Riah Baily-Simmons of Gering, NE Justice Simmons, and Chance Simmons. both of Sidney, NE. He is survived by his mother Marjorie White Bear Claws, of Pine Ridge, SD. His siblings Jennifer Simmons of Rapid City, SD, George Simmons of Chadron, Ne, Michael Simmons of Topeka Kansas, Half-sister’s Susie Rosales of Alliance, Ne, Lisa Star of Pine Ridge, SD, Silas Star of Pine Ridge, SD and Pearle Star of Pine Ridge, SD, His uncle Frank Simmons of Salinas, CA., Niece Tina Payne & family of Lincoln, NE, Nephew Anthony Perkins & family of Rapid City, SD, Tiffany Morrison & family of Platteville, CO, Jerymyah Simmons of Chadron, NE, Joe is also survived by several nieces and nephews, step nieces and nephews, and loved ones, Joe also spent a lot of time with his great nieces and nephews, Joe is survived by several uncles, aunts and cousins from all over the area.
Upon graduation Joe continued his education receiving his bachelor’s degree in Sports Management, Elementary Education. Joe graduated with honors from Peru State College in 1998. Joe then served in the National Guards until 2002. Joe received the Individual achievement medal of excellence. Joe was dedicated to helping his community. Joe became the Program Manager at Suanne Big Crow Boys and Girls Club. He worked with high-risk youth by implementing a gang prevention program. Joe had great leadership skills. He spoke at National Conferences to help get funding for programs involving the youth. Joe traveled all over the region as a speaker for the Native American Children. He developed and established youth programs bringing cultural competence to his community. Joe oversaw grant writing, co-hosted several pow wows at the Fort Robinson to bring culturally diverse people together. Joe received his License and certificates as a Talking
Circle Program Leader in 2016, a Peer Support Leader in 2014, and a Living Well Coach in 2014.
Joe is a local legend at Crawford High School in Nebraska, he scored over 1,081 points and grabbed over 500 rebounds in his career as a three-time Panhandle All-Conference selection. Over the years he continued to stay active at many basketball and volleyball tournaments throughout the area and was a regular player at the Chadron State PAC for pickup games throughout the years. He served as a big brother figure to many college students that he met through sports. He was a great father to his children and taught them the game he loved so much. Joe continued to sponsor several basketball tournaments to help his community.
Joe spent his free time playing on a local pool league. Joe enjoyed fishing and spent several of his last days doing so. Joe was proud of his family and always wanted them to know this. He would go above and beyond to let them know that they were his world. Joe would often be found playing basketball with his children in his spare time. Joe’s children were what his world revolved around. Joe left this world doing what he loved, playing ball. He will be missed by many especially his children Candace, Josie, Riah, Justice and Chance.