James Melvin Simmons Obituary

James Melvin Simmons, of Newell, W VA passed away the morning of November 30th 2023, in the comfort of his home located in Sacramento, CA.  He lived 86 years full of life, service to his country, laughter, adventure, and joy. 

James, also known as Melvin and “Rambo” by former colleagues, was born on March 7, 1937 in Newell, W. VA. He is survived by so many who loved him deeply, including his wife Helen Travis, his four children:  Jamie Aldred, Lisa (Matt) Ruyak, Lonnie Simmons and James Simmons II; eight grandchildren, Brandon (Anna) Aldred, Lauren (Damian) Shelton, Reanna (Christian) Long, Steven (Brea) Simmons, Dillon Aldred, David Simmons, Lilly Ruyak, and Poppy Ruyak; five great grandchildren:  Aitana, Cullen, Dean, Alethia and Camden and many nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his parents, Alonso Olen Simmons and Stella Cain; his sister Nola Hockenberry and his sister Nedra Volosh.  

Jim’s first love was service to his country.  Entering the United States Army at the age of 18, Jim worked his way to a rank of E-7, retiring as a Sergeant First Class from Fort Gordon located in Georgia in 1979.  Jim received an extensive number of commendations for professionalism, extensive knowledge and dedication.  While serving Jim was awarded a Meritorious Service Medal, Purple Heart, Bronze Star Medal, Good Conduct Medal (6 Awards), National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal (7 Campaigns), Vietnam Campaign Medal, and a Vietnam Cross of Gallantry w/Palm Medal.  As military associated service was the fabric of Jim’s soul, he served another 20 years as a civilian working for the United States Air Force at McClellan Air Force Base located in Sacramento, CA where he took great pride not only in his job but serving others being an instrumental part of Operation Santa Claus and other fundraising efforts for those who are less fortunate and fully retired in 1999 upon the decommissioning of the base.

After fully retiring Jim took time to enjoy racing with his grandkids, taking his grandkids to Marine World, Marriott’s Great America, and Funderland, relaxing by the pool with family, and gardening in his yard.  Jim joined the Rotary International South Sacramento Rotary Club in 2005 where continued to serve others, raising money by assisting with coordinating and working the FireWorks Booth.