Cover photo for Gary Simmons, Sr.'s Obituary
1951 Gary 2021

Gary Simmons, Sr.

October 22, 1951 — November 3, 2021

Gary Michael Simmons, Sr., age 70 years of Niles, Michigan, father, grandfather, son, brother, honorable veteran, outdoorsman, and free spirit died peacefully at 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, November 3, 2021 with family gathered at his bedside at his home following an extended illness.  His family is grateful for the kind and compassionate care provided by the hospice staff.

He was born on October 22, 1951 in Battle Creek, Michigan to Clarence and Margaret L. (Thompson) Simmons, and was graduated from Niles High School.  He enlisted in the United States Navy, was based on various ships for his entire service, including re-enlistment for an additional tour, and was Honorably Discharged as a Veteran of the Vietnam Era.

He returned to Niles and was employed at Garden City Fan for many years.  He was also employed at Simmons Tree and Lawn Service.

As a child, he attended the former Niles Seventh-day Adventist Church on Broadway. He has always been an outdoorsman, enjoying hiking in the woods and swimming.  He was a proficient automobile repairman and was pleased to share that skill and talent with family and friends.  Above all, Gary was a free spirit, enjoying whatever task was at-hand, enjoying the folks with whom he was working or playing, and toward the end, just relaxing at home.

Gary was previously married to the former Geneva Sutfin.  Later – everyone remembers that he was married on “tax day” – on April 15, 1997 he married the former Elaine D. Lutin who preceded him in death just four months ago on June 20, 2021.  He was also sadly preceded by a six-year-old step-son, Eric Sutfin who tragically died in a house fire on January 25, 1984; and by a 13-day-old granddaughter, Blayke Louise Simmons on December 2, 2019.  He was also preceded in death by step-siblings, Sherry Lynn Stephens and Gregory Mark Cain.

Surviving family includes his children, Gary Michael (& Amanda) Simmons, Jr. of Sulphur Springs, Texas, Joseph (& Casey) Simmons of Niles, and Michael (& Lori) Lutin of North Liberty, Indiana; grandchildren Jaxson, Harper, twins Olivia and Sophia, Cameron, and Sara; Gary’s mother, Peggy Cain of Niles; siblings Mary Ellen Simmons of Colorado, Timothy Rand Simmons of Niles, Steve (& Angie) Simmons of Niles, Donnarae (& Al) Wines of Glendora, Michigan, Robin (& Jeff) Mather of Niles and Lance (& Tanya) Cain of Niles; and many nieces and nephews.

A time of sharing memories of Gary Simmons, Sr. and honoring his life will be hosted by his family on Friday, November 5, 2021 from 4:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. at the Niles Adventist School, 110 North Fairview Avenue in Niles.  Combined Committal Services for Elaine and Gary Simmons, Sr. will be at 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 9, 2021 at Fort Custer National Cemetery, 15501 Dickman Road near Augusta, Michigan, and will conclude with Full Military Honors for Gary by the United States Navy Honor Guard, assisted by the Fort Custer Volunteer Veterans Honor Guard.

Contributions in memory of Gary may be made to the Niles Veteran’s Memorial, c/o City of Niles, 333 North Second Street, Suite 301, Niles, Michigan, 49120; .

Arrangements were made at the Halbritter-Wickens Funeral Home, 615 East Main Street in Niles.  Online condolences may be left at:

While Gary was best-known as a happy, care-free guy who enjoyed life, his greatest joy in life was serving and caring for others: in extended service to his country, helping folks keep their cars running, or helping with tree trimming and removal.  All fulfilling our mission to love God and love others.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Gary Simmons, Sr., please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Sharing of Memories

Friday, November 5, 2021

Starts at 4:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Starts at 3:00 pm (Eastern time)

Fort Custer National Cemetery

15501 W Dickman Rd, Augusta, MI 49012

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