My Uncle Billy died yesterday after an extended illness. He was such a great guy I thought I would tell you a little bit about him. He was a Command Sergeant Major in the Army’s Special Forces (Green Berets). He fought in Korea and Vietnam and received medals for bravery and multiple purple hearts. My dad was in the Air Force but it seemed that the two of them managed to always get stationed close enough together that I saw a lot of my uncle when I was growing up. I thought he was the coolest because he jumped out of airplanes for a living. The picture looks a little ratty but that is because my dad carried this picture in his wallet for many years. I have a lot of pictures of my uncle but I think he is so handsome in this one.
My Uncle Billy was the oldest of six children born to William Houston Simmons and Docia Leora Perry in rural Lamar County, Mississippi. He grew up dirt poor and the military was his way out. He went from the bottom all the way to the top. He always stayed in touch with his extended family in Mississippi and never forgot his roots.
My uncle loved to fish. When he was a boy he fished to help put food on the table but he never tired of it and continued to fish his entire life. I have pictures of me fishing next to him when I was maybe five years old. When I was older he would take me out into the Atlantic about 18 miles out. It made me a little nervous and he thought that was funny. He loved to fish for the big game fish and he entered a lot of tournaments. As usual, I thought he was pretty cool.
My Uncle Billy was a man you could look up to and I am very proud of him.
Copyright © 2015 Michele Simmons Lewis