Sheila Harris Simmons was born on February 27, 1945 in Washington, DC to William C. Harris and Hazel T. Harris (both deceased). She grew up in the Fort Stanton area of Anacostia. Sheila graduated from St. Cecilia’s Catholic High School (Class of ’63). She went on to attend Howard University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education (Class of ’67). She received her Master’s in Early Childhood Education from Howard University (1967-1969). After college Sheila’s career began supporting special needs children throughout Washington DC. She finished her early childhood education career at Randle Highlands Elementary School in 2007.
In 1962 Sheila and Russell Dale Simmons took their childhood friendship to the next level and started dating. Six years later (1968) they tied the knot at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in SE, DC. God blessed their union with two devoted children, Russell David and Danielle Khristina. Together they enjoyed traveling, fine dinning and fishing.
Sheila had a love and passion for flowers and gardening, hanging with her girlfriend’s, and watching her stories with a cold Pepsi. On the weekends you could find her in the mall with her Aunt Mary Wade or enjoying the slot machines at a local casino. Growing up she spent a lot of time in the kitchen with her Grandmother where she developed her passion for cooking. That followed her throughout life. On Sunday’s the house was filled with the sounds Gospel music and the smell of something on the stove. No matter who you were, Sheila would make sure you were fed. If you were one of her grandchildren, she made sure they left with a pocket full of candy.
Sheila valued giving back to the community. She was a lifetime member of the Washington DC Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and an avid sodality member of Saint Francis de Sales Church.
Sheila Harris Simmons was a devoted wife, mother, niece, grandmother and loyal friend who was always there for you. Sheila was called home to the Lord peacefully in her home on Saturday, June 4, 2022.
Sheila is survived by her husband, Russell Dale Simmons, children Russell David Simmons and Danielle Gaither (Justin Gaither); grandchildren Nasyir Simmons, Liam Gaither, Olivia Gaither, Layne Gaither, Langston Gaither and Amury Simmons; Aunt Mary Francis Wade; and a host of in laws, cousins, nieces, and nephews. She is preceded in death by William C. Harris and Hazel T. Harris, Theodore Wade, Jr., Theodore C. Wade, and Mark V. Wade.