Roxane Page Ruhl Simmons
March 29, 2012
Roxane Page Ruhl “Roxy” Simmons, 99, of Gwynedd, Pennsylvania passed away peacefully in her sleep at Foulkeways just six days short of her 100th Birthday. She was the loving wife of the late Charles Herbert “Herb” Simmons, Jr., also of Gwynedd and Stonington, Connecticut. They had also resided in Dorset, VT, and Bedford, NY.
Roxy was born in Portland, Oregon, on April 3, 1912, to the late Robert Waldo and Mabel Works Ruhl where he was the long-time Editor and Publisher of the Pulitzer Prize winning Medford Mail Tribune.,
She graduated from the Katherine Branson School in Ross, Marin County, California in 1930 and Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York, in 1934.
Following her graduation from college, she worked for Time, Inc., in New York City. She was an original member of the staff of Life Magazine, and worked there during both its launching and its first four years of publication.
In 1938 over Thanksgiving, Roxy announced her engagement to Herb Simmons at the Whitehall Mansion on Main Street in Stonington Borough, CT, and on December 29th of that year, they were married in the Brick Presbyterian Church in New York City. Their best man was George Darrell, of New York City and Stonington, a life long friend of Herb Simmons, who later married her bride’s maid, Peggy Hamill, of Medford, OR, a life long friend of Roxane Ruhl.
Following their marriage they lived for four years at 655 Park Avenue, New York City, with his father, Charles H. Simmons, President of the John Simmons Company. Later they moved to Bedford, NY, living there from 1943 to 1964. Herb Simmons practiced architecture with York & Sawyer before joining the partnership of Rogers and Butler, both of New York City.
In Bedford, Roxy was a communicant and member of the Vestry at Saint Mathews Church. She also served on the local school board for seven years during the formation and construction of Fox Lane High School.
In 1965, she moved to Dorset, Vermont, with her husband, where he continued to practice architecture. She served on the state board of Planned Parenthood which reflected a life-long interest in family planning. She also was active in the Vermont Land Trust, and preserved 72 acres of farm land on Lilly Hill Road in Danby, VT.
Locally in Stonington, Roxy spent her summers for more than 50 years on the Simmons Family compound at 268 North Main Street. She was a member of the Wadawanuck Club and attended Calvary Episcopal Church. She also was also active in creating the Simmons Preserve for the Avalonia Land Trust on Quannaduck Cove in Stonington.
In Medford, OR, Roxane established the Investment for Youth Scholarship to provide local students the opportunity to go to a college of their choice. She also supported the Ruhl Symposium at the University of Oregon, created by her mother and named after her father, where leading journalists interact with students to promote “ethics, responsibility and dedication” to the profession of journalism.
During her lifetime she loved bird-watching, riding and travel. At the age of 93 she accompanied her son Charles and daughter-in-law Carole to Antarctica because she had “always wanted to see it.”
She is survived by four children: Charles Herbert Simmons, III, and his wife Carole Petersen of Boulder, CO; The Hon. Robert Ruhl Simmons and his wife Heidi Paffard of Stonington, CT; Jane Horner Simmons Kennedy Fairbrother, and her husband Charles Williams Fairbrother of Ledyard, CT; and Thomas Sanford Simmons of Leesburg, VA.
She is also survived by her sister, Alicia Ruhl MacArthur, eight grandchildren and two great grandchildren. She was predeceased by a brother, Robert “Roddy” Ruhl, who died in his youth.
A funeral service will be held at 11:00 AM on Tuesday, April 3rd at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, 919 Tennis Avenue, Maple Glenn, PA.
A memorial service will be held at 11:00 AM on Saturday, April 28th at Calvary Episcopal Church, 31 Church Street, Stonington, CT. Burial will be private.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Avalonia Land Conservancy at Post Office Box 49, Old Mystic, CT 06372 or to the Stonington Free Library, 20 High Street, Stonington, CT 06378
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