Summary: This is a eulogy for a Christian who died at age 89. He was very active in the life of the church and he loved his family dearly.
Lloyd Dayton Simmons Sr.
January 20, 2004
We sometimes see the greatness and love of our God by the kind of people that He sends into our lives. Who would have thought that little black boy, born under the weight of segregation and racism, working in the cotton fields of Mississippi earning five cents a day would one day rise to change the way the United States Navy prepared it’s warships. God did. You see when God sent Dayton Simmons into New Albany Mississippi on October 7th 1914, he already knew what Lloyd was going to do because in Psalms Psalm 139:16 your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
If this same Lloyd Simmons had been born a generation earlier, he may have spent his entire life picking cotton. If he had been born two generations earlier he would have been born a slave. But God had ordained other days for him. You see if you had of seen him out their picking cotton, you might not have known that one of the days ordained for him, included him inventing a new smaller circuit board that could more accurately guide the torpedoes in the US Navy’s warships. His circuit board was installed in the noses of US torpedoes. We have a black inventor here who we ought to be reading about in our text books.
Lloyd Dayton Simmons was a lot of things in the days ordained for him. A son, a brother, a friend, an uncle, a cousin, an inventor, a father, a husband, a graduate, an elder, a bowler, a hunter and so much more. But of all the things he was, the greatest of them all is that he was a child of God.
Yesterday we celebrated Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday. I think some of the words from Dr. King’s sermon on “the Drum Major Instinct” in which he talked about what he’d like said at his funeral could be said by Lloyd. In that message Dr. King said, . I won’t have any money to leave behind. I won’t have the fine and luxurious things of life to leave behind.
But I just want to leave a committed life behind. And that’s all I want to say. If I can help somebody as I pass along, If I can cheer somebody with a word or song, If I can show somebody he’s traveling wrong. Then my living will not be in vain. If I can do my duty as a Christian ought, If I can bring salvation to a world once wrought, If I can spread the message as the master taught,
Then my living will not be in vain.
Is there one anyone who can testify, that Lloyd left a committed life as part of those days ordained by God. Can anyone testify, Lloyd helped me get out of jam I was in? Can anybody testify that he lifted my spirits when I was down or made my laugh with one of his jokes? Can anyone testify he gave me counsel that helped me to get my life back on track? Can anyone testify he taught me the message of Jesus Christ either at home, or in Sunday School or at Bible study. Can anybody testify that he was an example for me as he followed Jesus Christ? Is there anybody who can look at him, and say, “no, your living was not in vain?”
When God created us, He created us all unique with different personalities. We are to glorify in the uniqueness that He has given to us. I usually referred to Lloyd as either Simmons or Doc Simmons. He often called me Senior Ricardo. So if I refer to him as Simmons or as Doc, you know that’s how we related to each other.
Doc Simmons used his gifts and his talents to the glory of God. When I asked his family to describe him, they said, “he was a hard worker”, “funny”, “innovative”, “good looking”, “charming”, “ambitious”, “musical”, “intelligent”, “God-loving”, “witty”, “upbeat”, “spiritual”, “gifted”, “proud”, “creative” and “cantankerous”. Now if you knew Simmons, and you didn’t know that Simmons, could sometimes be a pain in the neck, you didn’t really know Simmons.
At the core of his being Simmons loved God and loved people. He started out in life a little wild, but I remember his last testimony he gave here in church. He said he had an aunt that use to pray for him all the time, but that she died before he started serving God. He said, “I wish she could see me now.” You see it’s not so important how we start in life, it’s how we finish the race that makes all the difference in the world.