WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — An impactful and inspiring Wichita Falls educator was laid to rest. Michael Simmons served the Wichita Falls ISD for 17 years before passing on September 7.
Loved ones say Simmons loved to laugh and he would do anything for anybody.
“He got nominated multiple times for teacher of the month at Rider. He never told us. We didn’t know anything about it,” Simmons’ son Antonio Simmons said.
“Michael has never boasted or bragged about himself. It was never about him. It was always ‘what can I do for others,’” Simmons’ friend James Hughes said.
To those who knew and loved him most, Michael Simmons was a leader, a mentor and a friend with a golden heart. The Rider High teacher passed away unexpectedly on September 7th at the age of 54. Loved ones say he leaves behind a legacy of love and always caring for others before himself.
“One of the things that got me through basic training was my grandfather and my uncle Mike. It made me want to put on this uniform and do the same thing as those two great men,” Simmons’ son Darius Vialpando said.
“He did make sure that his family was ok no matter what,” Simmons’ son Jalen Simmons said. “If he had a dollar in his hand and anybody else in our family needed that dollar, he would make sure to give you his last dollar. That’s just how he was and that’s something he told me too.”
After serving served 10 years in the Air Force, Simmons went to work for WFISD at Zundy Jr. High, Barwise Middle and Rider. Often called Coach Simmons, he coached football, basketball and track at Zundy and taught physical education and weights and conditioning at Rider. Those at his funeral say Simmons was full of laughs so they decided to have some in his honor.
“Mike finally made it to the Rider High School. For some of you who may not know that was great for me because I’m a Rider guy and all of Mike’s boys are Coyotes. That was like asking Mike to where a Dallas Cowboy jersey,” Hughes said.
Those who celebrated his life say they will do their best to honor him every day.
“Always, always, always pass encouraging words on to somebody. Just be an inspiration to somebody,” Vialpando said.
An inspiration to somebody just like loved ones say Simmons was an inspiration to others.