Gloria Dawn Simmons

October 6, 2021

CHARLOTTE- Rev. Gloria Dawn Simmons passed away on October 6th, 2021 at the age of 86. Gloria was born in Casper, Wyoming on December 11th, 1934, to Henry and Ethel Simmons. Henry owned Simmon’s Super Service Texaco Gas Station so Gloria and her two sisters Rubie and Marilyn enjoyed a first career as grease monkeys. They often described some of the customers as “IWW’s” which stood for “information, wind and water”, i.e. those who didn’t buy gas. Gloria graduated from Natrona County High School in 1953, attended Westminster College and earned a Bachelor of Arts in 1957, then graduated from Iliff School of Theology in Denver in 1959 having earned her Master of Religious Education.

Gloria was a faithful member of the United Methodist Church and served in the ministry starting in 1959. Rev. Simmons held numerous appointments as she lived out her calling as a minister. Consecrated as a diaconal minister in 1977, Gloria then became the Coordinator of Interpretation and Field Service for Curriculum Resources at the General Board of Discipleship in Nashville, TN. In 1986 she was appointed to West Market Street UMC in Greensboro, NC as the Minister to Children and Family Life Ministries. In 1989, Rev. Simmons was appointed to Central UMC in Concord, NC as the Minister of Program and Education. In 1993, Rev. Simmons was appointed to Trinity Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, NC as Minister of Education. In 1999, Rev. Simmons was appointed to St. John’s Baptist Church in Charlotte, NC as Minister with Children and Families. Rev. Simmons also served as Associate Professor at Pfeiffer University for many years and a major achievement for her was helping to establish the Master of Christian Education Program at the University in Misenheimer, NC. Although Gloria officially retired in 2001, she remained active in the church.

During her time in the ministry, Gloria had a passion for serving others through education. According to her colleagues, Gloria was a dear friend, mentor, and teacher for many of her fellow Chirstian Educators. She provided encouragement, guidance, inspiration, and leadership to those she served and worked with in the church. Alongside educating others about her faith, Gloria was instrumental in setting up post secondary educational programs. According to those who knew her, “Gloria was one of the great saints of the Western North Carolina Conference … she was a passionate leader … she was loyal to the Western North Carolina Conference, attending the annual conference for many years following her retirement Gloria was a dear friend and colleague … she was an amazing woman and will be missed!”
Charlotte First UMC admired and appreciated Gloria for her intelligence, compassion, and work on various justice issues in and around Charlotte. She was an active participant in the MagdaRuths women's group, concentrating on advocacy, service, and education. She chaired the FUMC Child Development Center Board and helped direct those activities for years.

In her later years, people admired Gloria for her spunk and perseverance. She was not going to let her failing body dictate her activities. She would get herself to church and to church-related events even if it was a physical struggle. One church member recalled her "slowly walking up the aisle in church on any typical Sunday and turning her neck up to smile." He concluded, "I always felt like she had a really kind heart." Another noted that they "so enjoyed seeing her smiling face and strength to come to church." Rev. Dana McKim wrote that "Gloria Simmons was a beautiful spirit, grand dame of Christian Education in our conference and denomination, my guide, mentor, and most importantly my friend. So thankful for her contribution to the UMC and shaping my ministry."
In addition to her career in the United Methodist church, Gloria was a kind, loving, and supportive aunt. She attended her family’s celebrations, weddings, graduations, and shared in the many occasions of her family’s life. Gloria enjoyed volunteering for the democratic party, catching up with friends and family over the phone, and also singing “Michael Row The Boat a Shore”. She is survived by her niece Susan L. Reuler of Albuquerque, NM., nephew Hank Wilson of Orangevale, CA, nephew Lindsay Wilson of Denver, Colorado as well as great nieces and nephews, and great great nieces and nephews. Susan recalls with much joy that while a grad student attending UNC in Chapel Hill Susan’s financial resources were quite limited and having mentioned to Aunt Gloria that she didn’t have 2 nickels to rub together, Aunt Gloria gave her 3 nickels and quite a bit more. :}

The family wishes to thank Rev. Val Rosenquist, Rev. Charlotte G. Brindle, Jim Pyatt, Sally Staley, and Susan Keever for being valuable dear friends for Gloria and for their assistance in crafting this notification.

Well done good and faithful servant!

Arrangements and date for her celebration of life are to be determined at a later time.

Arrangements are in the care of Kenneth W. Poe Funeral & Cremation Service, 1321 Berkeley Ave., Charlotte, NC; 28204 (704) 641-7606. Online condolences may be shared at

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  • Judy Coles

    Rest In Peace Gloria. ?

  • Debbie Mullis

    Gloria was a member of the Cabarrus County Extension & Community Association (ECA). Even though she was limited in her physical involvement, she would attend meetings and one time sat in a chair while the ECA club put up a fair booth. She had a quick wit about her and spoke of her sister in CA and nieces and nephews. She never said much about her educational background, but reading her obituary tells of a women dedicated to Methodist education. I was glad Gloria passed my path!