by PETER GRACE
A laywoman who worked in a huge variety of community, parish and diocesan activities through her adult
life died on September 12.
Marie Simmons (nee Bishop) was born in Whakatane in 1928. After schooling at St Joseph’s Whakatane and St Mary’s College Auckland, she worked in Auckland. Agreeing to give a lift to someone without a ride one evening, she met
the young man, Arthur Simmons, who was to become her husband.
The couple farmed in the early 1950s northeast of Wellsford, initially share milking, then sheep and beef farming.
At her funeral Mass on December 16 her eldest son, John, said that in breaking in a rundown farm, money was tight and his mum worked as a music teacher, and taught piano at home, to supplement the family income.
Mrs Simmons taught CCD, Bible Studies in Schools, was on the parish pastoral council, the liturgy committee, Interchurch Committee, and qualified for the Diploma in Religious Education.
From 1972-72, she was a member of the Diocesan Commission on the Laity.
She held office in the Catholic Women’s League at branch, regional and national executive levels.
For her community, she was honorary librarian in the public library and worked part time as a school secretary. She
held office in Plunket at local, regional and national executive levels and was a member of the former Karitane Hospital Board.
On moving to Auckland in 1980, Mrs Simmons worked for the National Centre for Religious Studies for four years. That was followed by five years with the Anglican Board of Christian Education and Council for Christian Nurture.
She was on the board of New Zealandia magazine.
Pat Lythe of Auckland diocese told NZ Catholic that Mrs Simmons was an Auckland diocese regional pastoral councillor from 1990 to 1992, representing the Eastern Region on the Diocesan Pastoral Council. She was chairperson of the Diocesan Pastoral Council from 1992 to 1994.
Her love of music meant she usually played the church organ wherever she lived, and had a strong interest in liturgy.
Marie and Arthur Simmons raised five sons; John, Peter, Tony, Richard and Michael.
Mrs Simmons was interred at Waikaraka Cemetery with her husband. May she rest in peace.
by PETER GRACE