American Veteran 04

Swanson Rufus Simmons

November 28, 1923 ~ December 29, 2019 (age 96)


Obituary for Swanson R. Simmons      December 29th, 2019

Mr. Swanson Rufus Simmons, age 96, of Pilot Mountain, NC, passed away on December 29th, 2019 at the Joan and Howard Woltz Hospice home in Dobson, NC. He was born in Surry County on November 28th, 1923 to late Jobe and Dora Moser Simmons, the second of five boys and was a farmer and poultry farmer in the Ararat community and businessman later in his life.

 Mr. Simmons served in the army in World War II as PFC. He was an expert rifleman and tank driver in the European Theater, Normandy, Brittany and German Campaigns, receiving two Purple Hearts, three Bronze Battle Stars and a Bronze Star. He fired on the enemy, captured German soldiers and guarded prisoners. He received a Meerschaum pipe from a German prisoner for humane treatment.

After returning from service, Mr. Simmons was the lead singer with the Friendly Four Gospel Quartet with four of his brothers, recording many songs at WPAQ in Mount Airy and performing professionally in Harrisonburg, Virginia in the late 1950’s. The Friendly Four Quartet songs are still played weekly on WPAQ in Mount Airy, and the family thanks Ralph Epperson for recording all those songs. After retirement Mr. Simmons was an avid golfer, charter member (#4) of Pilot Knob Park Golf course and until 1992 played with many friends at Beaver Creek Golf course shooting his age and under many times, and also scoring 3 holes in one during his golfing days.

Left to cherish his memories are his wife; Julia S.  Simmons of the home; son, Johnny Grant (Judy) Simmons; daughter, Joy Simmons Tuttle; grandchildren, J. Grant Simmons, Valerie S. (Scott) Bruner, Shawn B. (Courtney) Inman; great-grandchildren, Kayla B. Simmons, Wes Bruner, Allie Bruner, Mollie Bruner and Everly Joy Inman; sister-in-law, Kay Simmons; step-daughters; Kimberly (Kim) Blakley (Brian); step son-in-law, Jack Brinkley; step grandchildren, Daniel Brinkley, Noelle Brinkley, Cole Brinkley, Chase Blakley, Grayson Blakley, and many nieces and nephews.  Mr. Simmons was preceded in death by his parents; brothers Thurman, Hampton, Elmo and J. W. (Jay) Simmons; and step daughter-in-law, Delaine (Dee) Brinkley.

A celebration of life will be held at 2pm on Thursday, January 2nd of 2020 at Cox-Needham Funeral Home in Pilot Mountain, with visitation from 12pm till time of service with service conducted by Rev. Jake Penley and Rev. Scott Coleson. Interment will be in Pilot Mountain City Cemetery.  In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to the Salvation Army or the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Online condolences may be made at

Cox-Needham is respectfully serving the Simmons Family.

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January 2, 2020

12:00 PM to 2:00 PM
Cox Needham Funeral Home Chapel
822 West Main Street
Pilot Mountain, North Carolina 27041

Funeral Service
January 2, 2020

2:00 PM
Cox - Needham Chapel (NC)

January 2, 2020

3:00 PM
Pilot Mountain City Cemetery
824 W. Main Street
Pilot Mountain, North Carolina 27041

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