Miriam Back Simmons was born April 08, 1912 in Pensacola , Florida and passed away October 17, 2016 after living a long and an incredibly amazing life.
The world lost a gifted woman, who was well ahead of her time. She was a writer, a business woman, a poet, and a model of compassion and support. In high school, she worked on the Pensacola News Journal and interviewed presidential candidate Al Smith, making the lead front page story. At seventeen, she attended LSU for two years, majoring in journalism. She returned home and then out of necessity, formed a business that would continually operate for more than sixty years.
In 1939, she met the first love of her life, Rudolph Back, who had fled from Austria to escape the holocaust. She taught him English, they married, had two children and worked side by side in growing Back Specialty Company. Rudy drove while she went into the shops and talked to the owners. She was widowed at 53, but completed the building of an apartment complex she owned and managed for thirty years.
In 1969, she married Eugene Simmons. He joined her in operating the business and apartment complex, but it was her continued drive and his support that made the businesses grow and flourish. This growth expanded from a regional focus to include military bases all across the southeast. She was widowed again in 1990, but never really slowed down.
She moved to Austin, Texas in 1998 with her daughter Diane and her family. She no longer operated the business, but continued to play duplicate bridge at a high level and make friends with almost everyone she met. As an avid Master duplicate bridge player, she readily made friends at the local bridge club.
Her greatest accomplishments were the gifts and values she taught her children, grandchildren and even her great grandchildren. Each of her grandchildren adored her and she claimed each as partly hers. If you married into her family, you were immediately in her circle, there were no "in-laws," just more children, more grandchildren and a growing extended family. She made time for each, shared wit and wisdom, a love of writing and poetry, funny sayings and created an incredibly unique bond with each one. She lived her faith in the many kindnesses she displayed. This is evidenced by her ongoing commitment to be present at all of her children's major life events. Distance was never an obstacle when it came to her family.
There never was a woman more proud of her family. She loved her family fiercely and unconditionally, and always claimed whatever you prepared for her was "the best she ever had". She blessed everyone she met with the opportunity of sharing her long life and always remained able to continue to comfort and inspire.
She is survived by her daughter Doris Kalishman from Gainesville, Florida and her daughter Diane and son-in-law James McIntyre, and daughter Susan Simmons and Helen James. Her greatest joy was being the matriarch of a large family of six grandchildren , their loving spouses and ten great grandchildren, and she would proudly tell anyone and everyone all about them, non-stop. She was equally proud of grandchildren Tony, Keeth, Cory, Gina, Brad, Heather, Ashley, Jamie, Mike, and great-grandchildren Lindsay, Jay, Greg, Blake, Julia, Truman, Carter, Travis, Sophia and Brooklyn, and is assuredly showing pictures of each to anyone around her in heaven.
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