Public Viewing: Thursday, June 30, 2022 4:00 - 6:00 P.M.
Visitation: Thursday, June 30, 2022 at 6:00 P.M.
Born to the parents of Wallace and Daisy Alice Simmons on October 29, 1926, he was the seventh of 8 children. At the time, the family resided at 518 East Oglethorpe Avenue, a few blocks from Crawford Square. The family soon moved to 337 East Broad Street, a block from the Savannah Boys Club. Crawford Square and the “Club” became pivotal in Walter’s life. On Crawford Square, he learned to survive and to excel in athletics. At the “Club”, he found a home away from home with many peers. At home he learned to give and take and to share.
At the beginning of his Senior year, 1945 – 46, Walter was able to form a coalition that was instrumental in restarting the varsity athletic programs. Legendary Coach Joe Greene named him Captain of the 1946 basketball team his so-called “Dream” team. He is affectionately known as “9” or “49” for the number he wore at Beach.
Upon graduation from high school, Walter enlisted in the United State Navy and served aboard the USS Macon, a heavy cruiser.
A graduate of Savannah State College, he has enjoyed an exceptional career as an educator. He has served Savannah-Chatham County’s Public School System as a classroom teacher, a special project teacher, a principal, an executive director, and an Area Assistant Superintendent. He helped to pioneer integration of the school system by successfully serving as the first Black to serve as principal of a formerly all-white Elementary School.
In 1948, he married Mary Franks and they parented 3 children. As important as his professional, church and community service career were to him, nothing exceeded his devotion to his family, immediate and extended.
A lifetime member of St. James AME Church, Walter has served the church in various capacities and leadership. He has been Sunday School teacher, Class leader, Trustee, Steward Board Pro-tem, Lay President, Senior Usher, van driver, photographer, delegate to conferences, local, district, state and national.
Socially and fraternally, Walter was a former president
of Beta Phi Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity,
The Falcons Club, and The Mutual Benevolent Society.
Beach high School’s class of 1946, pioneered African
American class reunions in Savannah.
Simmons served as the first organizing Chairman.
He also served as Chaplain of the Frogs Club.
Among the many citations and awards, included are
Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Man of the Year, 1946 Class Leadership
Award, Savannah Yamacraw Branch Association for the Study of
Afro American Life and History for outstanding service
and contributions to establishing the Negro Heritage Trail Tour,
Boys Club of America Keystone Award,
Chatham County Public Schools Teacher of the Year,
Mutual of the Year, Greater Savannah Athletic Hall of Fame, and Beach High School Athletic Hall of Fame Enshrinement.