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Richard W. Simmons, 87, of Park Rapids, formerly of Cherokee County, Iowa, passed away Tuesday evening, Oct. 8, 2013 at St. Joseph's Area Health Services in Park Rapids following a period of declining health.

Richard was born Dec. 24, 1925 in Glenwood, to William and Emma (Heegard) Simmons. As a small boy of the age of two, Richard moved with his family to the Park Rapids, area where he attended country school near his parent's farm. He went on to attend high school in Crookston for 2 years.

As a young man of 17, Richard entered the United States Navy. He served during World War II in the South Pacific Theater of War on the USS South Dakota. During his tour of duty, the USS South Dakota was engaged in heavy fighting in Iwo Jima, Saipan, Attinian, Guadalcanal, the Marshall Islands the Philippines and Japan. The USS South Dakota was the most highly decorated battle ship to come out of WWII being awarded 13 battle stars for sea battles in both the Pacific and Atlantic theaters. The South Dakota gallantly served in the U.S. Navy from 1942-1947 and was the lead ship of her class. The U.S. Navy along with the State of South Dakota have established a living memorial to the ship and it's sailors in Sioux Falls, S.D. where a museum tells the ships story. While a sailor, Richard earned the nickname of "Rabbit" be-cause he would crawl into the limit of spaces no one else would crawl into to fix whatever needed to be done.

After his honorable dis-charge, Richard ventured to Alaska where he worked on a Gold Dredge for summer. In 1946, Richard moved to Iowa where he speculated in land, ran a corn shelling business, worked in building construction and worked as a Park Ranger for the Iowa Parks Commission.

In 1949, Richard was united in marriage to Joyce Joan Jensen at the First Congregational Church in Peterson, Iowa.

He served as trustee in the First Congregational Church, as fire chief, Scoutmaster, Adjutant of the Grasshoff-McManus American Legion Post 309 in Aurelia, Iowa, and as Executive Director of the Cherokee County Conser-vation Board.

Richard retired to Park Rapids and built a lake home on Bad Medicine Lake. Upon retiring, Rich-ard focused on his con-struction business so that he would have more time to fish, hunt and trap on his property on Bad Medicine Lake. He had the distinguished nickname of "the Mayor of Red Top Road" which ran in front of his place.

Richard was a member of the Otto Hendrickson American Legion Post 212 in Park Rapids. He was active in the United Foun-dation for Disabled Archers (UFFDA) organization. Richard loved the out-of- doors, especially when he could be in the woods or on his favorite fishing spot. Each spring he looked forward to planting a large vegetable garden which he would nurture into fruitful abundance to share with family and friends. He was an excellent cook and baker who will be long remembered for his delicious pumpkin pies, brownies and homemade breads.

Richard will be lovingly remembered by two nieces, Cherie and Janet; many friends; and one brother-in-law, Don Tschudi of Park Rapids.

He was preceded in death by his wife in 2004; his parents; and one sister, Carolyn Tschudi.

Visitation: one hour prior to the services at the Jones-Pearson Funeral Home.

Memorial service: 11 a.m. Monday, Oct. 21 at Jones-Pearson Funeral Home in Park Rapids.

Urn bearers: Don Rooney, Ronnie Scholz, Gaylord Carlson, Dave Christianson, Bob Stulich, John Backus, Tyson Doke, and Roger Tschudi.

Interment: next to his wife at Greenwood Cemetery in Park Rapids.

A lunch will be hosted by the Otto Hendrickson American Legion Auxiliary #212.

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