In Memory

Donald L. Simmons

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10/18/09 07:53 PM #1    

Duane Calvin (Avio)

Walking down the hall of the big barracks at Yokota one day in early 1970 I heard banjo music coming out of a room. I knocked and Don ("Doc") Simmons opened the door. He was only about 22, but he looked older. He played banjo like Grandpa Jones and looked a lot like him, so he used to put on shows doing his music. Doc got me interested in the banjo enough to take it up, and I learned Earl Scruggs style playing, which I would occasionally do with one of the country bands in the NCO Club at Tachi. Doc worked in Avionics, in the Doppler radar shop.  He left the AF after 4 years, went home, married Karen and helped her raise her kids. He had a radio show for a while playing old country music back from the string band days, and he worked at Harrisburg Light & Power for a number of years. Doc was always encouraging me in my music, and it was a real shock when I learned he had prostate cancer which progressed very quickly and took him. I'll always be thankful for his friendship. I have posted a couple of pictures of him in McCann's gallery under the "Yokota Pictures" section of the web site.  Here is one of the better ones:

Doc Simmons, playing the banjo

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