Woman loved to help others
Her family and legion of friends and admirers knew Mrs. Simmons as a positive and gracious woman who accompanied her husband on international business trips, raised two children and devoted much of her time to community service.
Dorothy P. Simmons, a resident of Sewickley Heights and wife of Robert P. Simmons, chairman emeritus of Allegheny Technologies Inc., died from complications of interstitial lung disease on Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2001.
Mildred Hankey Paulus, whose husband, John Paulus, was a longtime colleague of Robert Simmons, remembered 'Dottie Simmons as being a woman whose life centered around her husband, children and her community commitments.'
Dorothy Porter Simmons was born and raised in Steubenville, Ohio. In 1957, she met Richard Simmons when he moved to Steubenville to oversee construction of a plant for Allegheny Ludlum, a predecessor of Allegheny Technologies. They were married in 1959.
Mrs. Simmons' daughter, Amy Sebastian, also spoke of her mother's commitment to her community. 'My mother headed a Brownie Troop at the former D.T. Watson Home and volunteered to work at the snack bar at Sewickley Valley Hospital. She was a real presence when my brother and I were attending Quaker Valley and later Sewickley Academy.'
Her daughter also recalled the reaction she received when someone she had just met learned that she was Dorothy Simmons' daughter. 'I would hear stories about how my mother helped so many people and how she would take the time to listen to anyone who had a problem.'
Mrs. Simmons' son, Brian Simmons, remembered the support his mother gave to her husband and children. 'Few people knew of the extensive commitment required by the spouse of a hard-working corporate executive. When Dad traveled or worked late, Mom was always there for us and kept the family going.'
Kitty Clarke, a resident of Sewickley and a friend of many years, said Mrs. Simmons had a graceful wit and a wonderful sense of humor. She said her family 'meant everything to her.'
Richard Bozzone, president and CEO of Allegheny Technologies, regarded Dorothy Simmons as being a true partner to her husband. 'Dorothy and Dick enjoyed an accomplished and enriching life together,' said Bozzone, a longtime friend of the family.
The Simmons family philanthropy in the area of education, music, arts and medical research was legendary. They endowed scholarships to the University of Pittsburgh, Duquesne University, Washington & Jefferson University, Carnegie-Mellon University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
In the field of secondary education, the Simmons family established scholarships to enable minority students to enroll in Sewickley Academy. Their commitment to the arts and culture included support of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts.
Last September, Mr. and Mrs. Simmons established a center at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine for lung disease research. They also endowed a chair on pulmonary research.
In December, there were groundbreaking ceremonies at MIT in Cambridge, Mass., for Simmons Hall, a new dormitory designed to enhance student life and encourage campus activities.
In the six years that Mrs. Simmons fought lung disease, the joy of having her grandchildren around comforted and sustained her, her daughter said.
'My mother's grandchildren were the light of her life. They helped her through the difficult days.'
Mrs. Simmons is survived by her husband, Richard P. Simmons; son, Brian Simmons of Chicago; daughter, Amy Sebastian of Sewickley, and grandchildren, Connor, Campbell and Erin Sebastian and Porter and Reilly Simmons.
Visitation with the family is scheduled from 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the family residence in Sewickley.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial gifts be made to the Dorothy P. and Richard P. Simmons Center for Research and Education in Interstitial Lung Disease at UPMC School of Medicine, Fifth Floor, Craig Hall, 200 S. Craig St., Pittsburgh, Pa 15260.