Tceollyar Simmons, born June 7, 1923 in Geneva County AL, enlisted in the US Navy at age 17, and was serving as a Seaman Second Class on the USS California on December 7, 1941 when he and 103 other crew members were killed during the infamous attack by Japan.
“T” as he was known to loved ones was the son of Garfield and Ina Simmons, and the stepson of Jim Morgan whom Ina married in Detroit MI., where she had moved with T after Garfield’s untimely death from complications of injuries he suffered during WW I.
T’s remains were first interred with other unknown KIAs at the Halawa Naval Cemetery in Hawaii. Following unsuccessful efforts over the years, the remains of unidentified casualties from the USS California were exhumed and transferred to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) laboratory at Joint Base Pearl Harbor.
Subsequent DNA analysis conclusively established the identity of T’s remains. The Department of the Navy has worked with known surviving family of Tceollyar to arrange his transport to Geneva County AL, to be buried next to his mother and father at Corner Creek Cemetery.
A public graveside service with full military honors will be held at 11 AM on June 14, appropriately enough Flag Day, with Pittman Funeral Home of Samson, directing.
T is survived by five first cousins: Col. Kennith Blan (USAF Ret.) of Palm Harbor FL; James Blan of San Diego CA,, William D. Baker of Portage PA., Lera Baker Smith of San Diego CA., and Lora Blandford of Panama City FL. He is also survived by numerous second and third cousins.
In a letter received by T’s mother that was posted before the attack, T shared with her his plan to have spent the afternoon of December 7th at the beach. Unfortunately, Ina passed never having the comfort to know that T’s remains were identified. T’s remaining family are grateful for the opportunity to honor his life and heroism in her place.