Eric passed away peacefully in his sleep on Wednesday morning, January 1, 2020 at Glenwarren Lodge. He was born in Calgary, Alberta, on July 17, 1920, where he spent his youth before coming out to Victoria in 1940 and joining the Royal Canadian Navy.  He was in the Navy until the end of WWII in 1945.  It was during this time in Victoria where he met and married his first wife, Patricia.

Eric joined the Victoria Fire Department in 1946 and was with them until his retirement in 1980. He was promoted to Deputy Chief in 1965 and to the position of Fire Chief in 1967.  During his early years with the Fire Department, he was very involved with Local 730 of the International Association of Firefighters and was their President from 1956-1965.  In 2016, Local 730 of the IAFF initiated an award to be given annually to past or present members of the Victoria Fire Department who have demonstrated exemplary service to the Victoria Fire Department.  This award was named the “Eric Simmons Community Award.”  He was also the President of the British Columbia Professional Fire Fighters Association from 1954-1964, and the Vice-President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, 6th District, from 1962-1965.  Right up to the day he passed on, he was very proud of the Victoria Fire Department, and continued a relationship with them through the Historical Society, monthly luncheons with the “Charcoal Gang”, at Uplands Golf Course and regular meetings as a group with past and present Fire Chiefs from the Victoria Fire Department.

After retirement from the Fire Department, he was elected to Victoria City Council in 1981 and remained a member of Council until 1990.  During his time on Council, he was Ombudsman from 1985-1990 and was a Director and on the Executive Committee of the Union of BC Municipalities from 1985-1990.  In 1996, CFAX awarded him the Citizen of the Year Award and in 2004, he was named Honorary Citizen by the City of Victoria.  His community service continued as a Director and President of Silver Threads, which he served for 29 years.  Eric was also Trustee (9 years) and Chairman (3 years) of The Royal Jubilee Hospital Board, Director (7 years) and President (3 years) of the Victoria Red Cross, and a member of the Victoria Police Board from 1993-2001.  He was also a Director for the First Open Heart Society of British Columbia in Victoria.

Eric took up golf later in life and was a proud member of the Uplands Golf Course where he was involved in a number of committees to raise funds for Literacy Victoria and the Heart Committee.  He especially enjoyed his Saturday morning games with the “Dirty Dozen” and the camaraderie after the games with all the golfers he met there.

Eric met his second wife,  Anne, while both were employed with the Victoria Fire Department and they were married in 1982.  They enjoyed 37 years of marriage together with their trips and cruises, lunches and dinners at the Uplands with family friends and their frequent visits with his niece and her husband, Bruno. Eric enjoyed a Scotch in the afternoon and was having one everyday while at Glenwarren.

Eric was predeceased by his mother, Mabel and father, Arthur; his sister, Ruby; his first wife, Patricia and by Anne.  Survived by his son, Norman (Gloria); grandaughters, Lisa (Sean), Susan (Mark); great-granddaughters, True and Summer; niece, Brenda (Bruno) and nephew, Brian (Abigail) and former daughter-in-law, Dawn Simmons.

A very special thank you to his wife, Anne.  The love and care she gave to him was tremendous.  He was fully aware of that, loved her very much and certainly missed her after her passing late last year.  Also, a heartfelt thank you for the loving care and kindness he received while at Glenwarren Lodge.

There will be a Celebration of Life in the Sequoia Centre at McCall Gardens, 4665 Falaise Drive, Victoria, BC, at 2 pm on Friday, January 17, 2020.

Tributes, if desired, may be made to the First Open Heart Society of British Columbia, 1580 Pembroke Street, Victoria, BC.

Condolences may be offered to the family below.

McCall Gardens
www.mccallgardens.com

 

 

 

 

  • Chris Taylor

    Dear Norm and family,
    I offer my sincere condolences. While at the same time, applaud all of you for organizing your dad’s, your grandfather’s memorial into such a respectable and praiseworthy celebration. The honour guard, the fire truck outside, the bell, the piper, the video,….so moviing to hear speaker after speaker recall personal experiences in tribute to this honourary gentleman. As you know, Eric and Anne were my upstairs neighbours. Together, we preserved a close friendship. And from time to time, enjoyed one another’s company at a happy hour!
    You all have and continue to deal with stressful times. Take care, treasure all of your memories.

  • Brian Johnson

    My condolences to all the family Eric leaves behind. I didn’t see “Uncle Eric” very many times but it was always enjoyable when I did. He had such a great joy of life and that laugh of his was so contagious.

  • Ann Barry

    I met Eric when he was a trustee on the Royal Jubilee Hospital Board. He was a lovely person and a joy to know. My condolences to the family.

  • M Van den-Bulk

    Norman: Pam & I wish to send you our sincerest condolences over the recent loss of your father. What an incredible, full life he led. We are sure that you will hold many fascinating memories of him.

    Sincerely

    Monty/Pam Van den-Bulk

  • Jay Chudleigh

    Simmons Family,
    We send our heartfelt condolences on the loss of Eric. Our father, Roy Chudleigh, worked with Eric at the Victoria Fire Department. I would see and chat with Eric at Uplands Golf Course. Continue to share his stories and cherish all your memories with him, they help through difficult days.

    Chudleigh Family

  • judy bingham

    To Norm and family. Eric was a long time friend of my parents Cliff and Edna Robbins. He was known to me as Uncle Eric and every year after my parents passed he would call at xmas time to say hello and wish George and I a Merry Christmas. He lived the miracle mile. Wow what a life! Sincere condolences from Judy and George Bingham.

  • Gerry Lister

    Eric was my First Fire Chief and a fine person for the job! My condolences to the Family! A great Community Spirit and made tremendous advancements for the Fire Service! I wasn’t sold on the Coventry Climax Lime change to the Fire Engines, but proved to be a valuable change! Eric was a Firefighters , Fire Chief! We had our differences, but, all turned out for the betterment of the Fire Service in Victoria and the Province ! May you Rest In Peace, Chief! Gone but not forgotten! Gerry Lister, VFD 1970 to 2003.

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