George Hoyt Simmons, Jr. “Hoyt”, 70, slipped from his loving family into the welcoming arms of Almighty God through His Holy Son on June 9, 2018, at Palmetto Health Baptist Hospital. He was born on November 9, 1947 in Ridgeland, SC, and was the son of George Hoyt Simmons, Sr. and Eulalie Cooler Simmons. Maternal grandparents were Walter Russell Cooler, Sr. and Lela C. Smith Cooler of Ridgeland, SC. Paternal grandparents were Grover Cleveland Simmons and Dannie Turner Simmons of Fairmont, NC. He married Janice Walker on August 21, 1971 and they have one son, Ashby Carlisle Simmons of Columbia, SC.
He served in the 82nd Airborne Division of the US Army at Fort Bragg, NC.
While attending the University of South Carolina, Hoyt pursued a Fine Arts major, but ultimately drafting and welding classes transformed the major into a career with the South Carolina Department of Disabilities and Special Needs. With a grant, he founded and instituted a program which he developed into a full-time dedicated department. The department he created was named Adaptive Devices, which enabled special needs patients to better cope with their disabilities. He designed and created devices which helped patients feed themselves, obtain comfort and maintain a better quality of life than otherwise would have been possible. He worked for Midlands Center for over 30 years and helped countless patients improve the quality of their lives. He was often asked how he could perform his job for so many years in spite of his own health. His answer was always the same: “...because with having MS, I could be in a wheelchair one day.”
He was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) after only 15 months of marriage, but Hoyt and Janice met every obstacle with determination, every opposition with faith, and the knowledge that they were doing the correct thing for themselves, their parents and their son. Hoyt and Janice were the caregivers for his parents until their deaths. At the direction of Hoyt's father, they saw to their every need, never turning away from responsibilities, despite numerous and adverse conditions and critics.
He is survived by his loving and devoted wife, Janice; their son, Ashby Carlisle Simmons; and daughter-in-law, Whitney Salley Simmons.
The family will receive friends for a visitation on Thursday, June 14, 2018 from 6-8 p.m. at Thompson Funeral Home at Greenlawn Memorial Park. Funeral services will be held at St. Martin's in the Fields Episcopal Church on Clemson Avenue (in Forest Acres) in Columbia, SC on Friday, June 15, 2018 at 11 a.m. Interment will follow the service and will be held in Greenlawn Memorial Park on Garners Ferry Road in Columbia, SC.
The family will be forever grateful for the loving visits from extended family and friends, care given to Hoyt and the expressions of comfort offered by the staff of Palmetto Health Baptist Hospital, and especially by Bradley Word, MD.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to be made to St. Martin's in the Fields Episcopal Church, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society or The American Cancer Society.