“I truly believe that the Lord put me on this Earth to help people.”Patricia Henry Pierce-Simmons
The Journal Sentinel
Patricia Simmons does not have to tell you her life story for you to know she is a caring and giving woman – you see it in her smile.
The 71-year-old is the kind of person who gives without asking for anything in return. She never meets a stranger, and often strikes up a conversation with almost everyone in the grocery store.
“I just love people,” Patricia said. “I truly believe that the Lord put me on this Earth to help others. I can put myself last sometimes, but it does not bother me one bit.”
For Patricia, pampering herself means getting some rest. While she takes pride in helping others, she looks forward to the day she can relax and look after herself more often.
When she has free time, Patricia enjoys traveling, writing poetry, and being a member of the Christian Women Fellowship at the Center of Life Church of God in Glennville. She also enjoys spending time with her son, James Pierce, Jr., and four grandchildren: Shanterria, Tyus, Unique, and Ja’Kaden. Tyus also has a son, Tatum Pierce.
“Unique is a great joy in helping me in our home,” Patricia said. “She keeps me on my toes.”
She enjoys her missionary work, as well as attending Saint James African Methodist Episcopal Church in Glennville.
Patricia learned the value of hard work by taking care of the house work and her siblings along with working in the tobacco and cotton fields as a young girl.
“It was rough, but we had fun,” Patricia said.
She recalls making just enough money help her granddaddy and mother buy clothes and two pairs of shoes for school.
“You have got to go out, work hard, and get your own money,” Patricia said. “All of these kids pray for good things to happen to them, and then they go to bed. They sit down, and think it is going to land in their lap. You have to be a go-getter in order to prosper. Reach for high goals and give it your all. Respect goes a long way.”
Patricia is the kind of person who does what she has to do to make ends meet. With her full-time job, at times she had to take on a part-time job when needed.
Titles do not mean a thing to Patricia. While employed with the Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC), Patricia was a records office supervisor, handling the inmate legal records.
Patricia retired from the GDC in 2012 after 30 years of service. She previously worked as a fingerprint examiner in Washington, D.C., for three years, as a nurse’s aide at Glenvue Health and Rehabilitation, and as a clerk at Tattnall Memorial and Liberty Hospital.
She is a 1968 graduate of Long County High School, previously attending elementary school in Glennville. After returning from D.C., Patricia furthered her education by obtaining her Business Administration certification from Savannah Technical School in 1975.
Patricia was born in 1950 and grew up with nine siblings. She is the daughter of Laura Henry and the late Charles J. Henry, Sr.Her siblings are: Brenda Smith; Laverne Burks; Leatrice Middleton; Charles Henry, Jr.; Gilbert Henry; Melissa Randall; Anthony Hicks; and Darryl Henry.
“We grew up during the days when you washed your clothes in a ringer and hung them on a clothesline to dry,” Patricia said. “We all have stuck together all these years. We fought as normal siblings do, but we remained close. Some of us are as far away as California.”
Patricia and her siblings grew up with an independent and humble woman as their mother. Laura is supportive of all of her children throughout their lives.
“We were taught by our mother to be friendly and to work hard for what you want and need.”
Laura is now 90 years old, with her birthday being January 20.
“She received many calls, cards, visits, and drive-by waves on her special day, all of which were much appreciated,” Patricia said. “Her Master lets her know that she is a pearl of wisdom for her family and many others.”
Laura has one main piece of advice for people, “stay in prayer and let God take control of your life.”
While she did not grow up during segregation, there were still some ‘rules’ that needed to be followed.
“I did not ruffle any feathers, and I followed the rules,” Patricia said. “It was a different time… but I loved all people and still do, regardless of race. I never had a problem with people who were different from me.”
Most of all, Patricia just wanted to love others throughout her lifetime. She enjoys giving and providing for people.
Patricia Henry Pierce-Simmons’ Recipes
1 large Pyrex dish
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 Tbsp. sugar
1 stick margarine
Mix all these ingredients and spread evenly in the bottom of dish.
2 cups confectioners’ powdered sugar
1 (8-oz) block Philadelphia cream cheese
1 stick margarine
Melt margarine and Philadelphia cream cheese together and pour into the confectioners’ sugar mixture. Spread evenly over the graham cracker mixture.
Topping (layer in the following order over the cream cheese mixture:)
4 bananas (sliced)
1 (16-oz.) can Dole pineapple, crushed
1 large container Cool Whip
1 jar Maraschino cherries with stems
LEMON PINEAPPLE PUNCH1 (46-oz.) can pineapple juice
1 (2-Liter) bottle Canada Dry Ginger Ale
1 container lemonade mix
1 pack lime Kool-Aid
sugar to taste
1 cup water, if needed
5 lemons (sliced for topping)
Mix and serve.