JAMES P. SIMMONS, 88, passed away on August 7, 2013 at home surrounded by his loving family.
Jim was born on November 9, 1924 to Pat Herndon and Grace Sweeney Simmons in Wichita Falls, Texas.
He attended Wichita Falls High School, New Mexico Military Institute, University of New Mexico, and received his MBA from the Harvard Business School in 1947. He served as Lt. (jg) in the U.S. Navy from 1943-1946.
At 26, he became Executive V.P. and CEO, First State Bank, Monahans, Texas. He then served as President and CEO, Commercial Bank and Trust Company, Midland, Texas. In 1959, he moved to Arizona to become the Founding President of Guaranty Bank, predecessor of United Bank of Arizona. Jim served as Chairman and CEO of United Bank until 1988. He then became Chairman and CEO of the Valley National Bank until his retirement in 1990.
Jim served as a Director of organizations including the Del Webb Corporation, Arizona Public Service, Samaritan Health Services, American Graduate School of International Management, American Bankers Association, and Shamrock Foods. He also served as Acting CEO of Samaritan Health Services; President, Phoenix Chamber of Commerce; President, COMPAS; Chairman, ASU Business School Dean’s Council of 100; Chairman, Greater Phoenix Leadership, also known as Phoenix Forty; President, Arizona Bankers Association; President, Arizona Academy; and Chairman, Region VI Advisory Board, Resolution Trust Corporation. He served as chairman of an organization formed in the 1980s to persuade the voters of Phoenix to accept a tax increase making possible the current 51 and 101 freeways.
Among the awards Jim received were One of Five Outstanding Young Texans, NCCJ Silver Scroll Brotherhood Award, Phoenix Advertising Club Man-of-Year , University of Arizona Alumni Association Distinguished Citizen, Arizona Harvard Business School Leadership Award, and Boy Scouts of America Good Scout Award. He was a member of the Young Presidents Organization.
He is survived by his wife of 40 years, Patricia Eisele Simmons; their children, James P. Jr., William (Sharon), John, David (Andrea), Nanci Hickerson (Phil), Elizabeth Thornton, Sally Guenther (Ted), Clark Rorbach (Leslie), and Katherine Cornish; brother-in-law, Edward Eisele; and 21 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren.
A private interment has been held and Jim’s memorial service will be held Saturday, August 10, 2013, at 11 AM at Christ Church Anglican, 5811 N. 20th Street, Phoenix, AZ 85016.
Special thanks go to Dr. Robert Spetzler and Virginia Prendergast, both of Barrow Neurological Institute.
Contributions in Jim’s honor may be made to Barrow Womens’ Board, 350 W. Thomas Road, Phoenix, AZ 85013; Christ Church Anglican; and Hospice of the Valley, 1510 E. Flower, Phoenix, AZ 85014.