Mary ‘Teeny’ Simmons

Published 4:29 pm Friday, December 30, 2016

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths” — Proverbs 3:5-6, one of Teeny’s favorite scriptures. She acknowledged Him in every facet of her life and she led by example during her loving, learning journey with family and friends.

Mary Leontine “Teeny” Simmons, 68, peacefully passed away in her sleep on Dec. 21, 2016, in Baton Rouge, following a courageous battle with cancer. Born Jan. 17, 1948, in Bogalusa, to James I Simmons Sr. (Jack) and Margaret Leontine Black Simmons, Teeny was the third of seven siblings.

She is preceded in death by both birth parents and an older sister, Margaret Ellen Simmons of Cocoa, Fla.

Teeny is survived by her adoptive mother, Geraline Winters Simmons, of Covington, and her younger sister, Jill Suzanne Walters of Baton Rouge. She also is survived by five brothers, James I Simmons Jr., of Asheville, N.C., Steven Black Simmons (Donna) of Bogalusa, Thomas Hal Simmons of Washougal, Wash., Timothy Joseph Simmons of Baton Rouge and Brad Allan Martin (Lorie) of Covington. She also leaves behind her dear Aunt Ellen Black Knight, our matriarch. In addition, she leaves behind a “village” of devoted cousins, nieces, nephews and countless friends.

Teeny lived a joyful, active childhood in her native Bogalusa surrounded by her immediate and extended family — which included three sets of aunts and uncles on her mother’s side, and a total of 17 first cousins. She graduated from Bogalusa High School in 1966, and then spent the remainder of her life in Baton Rouge.

Teeny attended LSU before earning her business degree from Draughon Business College. She then embarked on a stellar career with her one and only employer, the Louisiana State Board of Architectural Examiners (LSBAE), for 41 years — 39 of which she served as its executive director, until her recent retirement. On June 1 of this year, Teeny was honored with a prestigious commendation by the Louisiana House of Representatives at the State Capitol. The resolution, read in the House of Representatives, noted that Teeny had received the National Conference of Architectural Registration Board’s (NCARB) President’s Medal in 2007 “in recognition of her selfless and outstanding service.”

In addition, it stated, “Teeny touched the lives of thousands of architects throughout the country with her endless energy and innovative ideas. Teeny’s impact on the architectural profession and the State of Louisiana will continue for years to come and will be sorely missed.”

Mary Porche, a coworker and longtime devoted friend, states, “To the family and friends of Mary Leontine ‘Teeny’ Simmons — Teeny was not just my boss, but my friend, my confidant and sister. Each day her parting words to me were ‘I love you, Mary’ and my words to her were ‘I love you, Teeny.’ The heart and soul of my sweet Teeny was geared toward the kind of love that came only from above. In her presence, I could feel only peace and joy.”

In addition to her work, Teeny’s other strong life passion was her faith. Since trusting Christ as her Savior on April 27, 1968, Teeny faithfully served Him in many capacities. In the early 70s, she helped start a church in Texarkana, Texas, which is still in existence today. Later, she continued to touch lives by working in children’s church, the bus ministry, singing in the choir and teaching Sunday School.

She was a member of Fellowship Baptist Church in Central, for the last 13 years. Teeny will be most remembered for the joy and unconditional love she freely shared with all.

Arrangements for a Celebration of Life memorial service are underway and will take place in the coming year.