Albert L. Simmons
|The West Virginia State CCC Museum
Association is proud to announce the induction of Albert Lee Simmons
into the 2012 WVCCCMA Hall of Fame.
Our Honoree was born September 21, 1923 in Cass, West Virginia, Pocahontas County. He grew up in scenic Durbin.
Albert's mother, Laura Roxella McCloud Simmons convinced him to join the Civilian Conservation Corp after his junior year in high school. His mother and stepfather, Hubert Simmons, drove him to Watoga, where he enlisted in the CCC, with the understanding that he would work for the summer and return to finish his senior year at Pocohantas High School.
Simmons commented: "We lived in barracks. It was almost like the Army. We had to have the bunk made up at a certain time and it had to be made a certain way. We each had a footlocker and everything was supposed to be in a certain spot. It had to be clean, no dust." Simmons had enrolled just as World War II started. He graduated from Pocahontas high school in 1942, but, didnt have to return to the CCC.
The CCC program was a Godsend to many young men and women during the depth of the Great Depression. "I heard a lot about people starving, but it was never that way with my family. Dad was a mechanic, and when my mother and father separated, she got with a man who rolled leather at the tannery. So there was just enough income to get by those tough times." Simmons remarked.
Simmons travelled to Baltimore with his stepfather to find work. Albert applied for work as an apprentice machinist and worked as a typist in the Navy Yard. In 1943, Simmons was drafted into the U.S. Army as an artilleryman and sent to Fort Bragg. He served during the war with distinction with the 40th Division at Guadalcanal, New Britain, and the Philippines. He came down with malaria in the Philippines and upon returning home he was treated for the disease at Davis Memorial Hospital.
Hall of Famer Simmons met a young nurse, Margaret (Margaret Patricia Cutright) at Davis Memorial Hospital, and they married a few months later. The couple was inseparable for sixty three years. They had two sons, Alan and Thomas. Margaret passed away in 2008.
After the war, Albert worked as an expert auto body repairman and auto painter in Washington, D.C. while residing at Forestville in Prince Georges County, Maryland. After forty years, moved back to Elkins in retirement. He was also a photographer. Albert mastered a high appreciation for the beauty of nature and travelled extensively for that purpose. He had a keen sense of humor and was beloved wherever he went.
Albert L. Simmons has been an active member of the West Virginia CCC Museum Association over the past two years. Albert, his son Thomas, best friend Jimmy Ray Walters, and Bill Oliverio constructed a float and they and members of the CCC museum association were part of the 75th Mountain State Forest Festival grand parade, October 8, 2011. Simmons and Walters appeared in Christmas parades in Elkins and Mill Creek on the CCC float that following December. (2011)
Our beloved honorable Albert L. Simmons went to be with the Dear Lord on February 12, 2012. He was buried with full military honors at Saint Brendan's Catholic Church Cemetery in Elkins. Members of the West Virginia CCC Museum Association were present along with his family and friends in mourning his passing. On Monday, March 12, 2012 Saint Brendan's Church held a Mass in honor of the life of Mr. Simmons.
Albert Simmons seen here October 8, 2011 at the 75th Annual Mountain State Forest Festival Grand Parade.