Site Navigation Menu Navigation
X Close

John Brate Simmons

September 8, 1939 - November 22, 2019

John Brate SimmonsJohn Brate Simmons, 80, was born in Centralia Washington on September 8, 1939 and passed away from heart failure in Salem, Oregon on November 22, 2019.  He was the son of Eugene C. and Rae Windust Simmons. He graduated from Centralia High School in 1957 as a Salutatorian and Student Body President.  He graduated from Stanford University in 1962 with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science.  He married Karin Joy Moore on February 3, 1962 in the Stanford Chapel.
            He began his career as Assistant Athletic News Director at Stanford, then Athletic News Director at San Jose State College, then University Editor at the University of Santa Clara.  He moved his family to Salem to attend Willamette University College of Law.  After one year he joined the Willamette University staff and held positions of Alumni Director, Associate Director of University Relations and Director of Athletics.  He became the Director of Housing at Central City Concern in Portland and the Development Director of Transition Projects in Portland.
            John was an avid sportsman his entire life.  He played football, basketball, and baseball in high school and was a catcher on the Stanford baseball team.  He was a Little League Softball coach for his daughters.  Many know him as a Statistician for the Portland Trailblazers for 28 years, providing statistics for Bill Schonely to announce on the radio.  Schonely gave him the nickname of “Fast Stat John.”  He retired from the Trailblazers in 2002 due to health reasons, but he continued to keep score of nearly every basketball and baseball game he watched.  He was also a Statistician for the West Coast Athletic Conference, Oakland Raiders, Continental Professional Football League, and the U.S. Olympic Trials in 1976.  He produced professional quality statistics for every team no matter what level, including the Oregon State Girls High School Basketball Tournaments, and his daughter’s Little League Teams.  He published the program for the U.S. Russian track meet in 1962, known as “The greatest track meet of all time.”  The athletes walked arm-in-arm around the track after the meet, which occurred during the height of the cold war era.
            He was preceded in death by his Wife, Karin and his Son, Jeffrey Eugene Simmons.  He is survived by his Daughter, Michelle Pavelek (Jim); Grandson, Brendan Pavelek (Caitlin); Great granddaughter, Elena Pavelek; Granddaughter, Larysa Pavelek; Daughter, Kristen Simmons; Daughter-in-Law, Susan Simmons; Grandchildren, Madison (Matt) Myers, Abigail Simmons; and Sister, Lyn Deits. 
The family would like to “thank” the residents, volunteers, and staff of the Providence Benedictine Orchard House in Mount Angel, and the medical staff at Salem Health Cardiac Intensive Care for the loving and compassionate care they provided for our Dad. 
A Memorial service will be on Friday December 6 at 3:00 at Virgil T. Golden Funeral Service.  For those attending the service, in celebration of John’s life, all are welcome to wear their favorite Blazer apparel or simply red, black and white attire.  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Mount Angel Providence Benedictine Nursing Center Foundation,
P.O. Box 3375 Portland, OR 97208.


Sign The Guest Book

Add your condolences, memories, photo, or prayers in the area below. Thank you for sharing.

After submitting your guest book entry, it will undergo a brief review by the Virgil T. Golden staff to ensure that it's not spam and it's appropriate for the context of this obituary. Once this review is complete, your obituary will be posted publicly on this page.

Guest Book Entries

What a great write up for a great man. Always smiling ambassador John!

Michelle and family! We are so sorry you have lost your wonderful loving Dad and Grand Dad!! We send the love of our BOISE family! He was quite an amazing man! Love and prayers, Aunt Pam and Uncle Dick Pavelek 

My mother is a resident at Providence-Benedictine Orchard House, was a friend of John's, and I came to know him through my weekly visits there.  The thing that struck me, and everyone else, was John's good cheer, the way he would try to involve everyone in fun activities. He always had a smile on his face. He brought my mom the Wall Street Journal, he edited a newsletter for the floor and was often seen cruising the hallways looking for stories to "report" on.  He is greatly missed by the other residents; I will miss looking for his smiling face when I visit.  John, you've been a blessing and joy to everyone who knew you!

Our family is saddened by John's passing. He was a true gentleman. His commitment to providing athletic experiences, namely softball, for young women was outstanding and benefitted the entire Salem community. We thank him for his  service and the positive impact he had on our daughters. The family of Coralie and Ozzie Rose

One would think that since it has been so many years since I met John Simmons and his daughters, I would hardly remember him.  But that's not true.  I remember him at Willamette, I remember him as father to my students and I remember him working for the Blazers.  He had a smile and warmth that was unforgettable.  My condolences to the entire family.

I miss you John.  I know you always had the best interest  in mind , of all your friends at the Orchard House.   We will carry on but you are so missed.  Thank you for sharing your life with us! 

I have known John since we were in Sunday School together in Centralia.  He was a fine athlete, an outstanding student and always a pleasure to be around. 
Judy Greeley Hendrickson  

I am sorry to hear of John's passing. He lived an interesting and full life.  I saw him after I moved back to Centralia, and he and I shared a grin when I remembered the "We Three King" singing as John, his dad, and another male family member walked down the aisle at the Centralia First Methodist Church singing this at annual Christmas Choir events.

Best thoughts to Lyn and all of the family.

John and I were friends from first grade at Edison School in Centralia when we walked down the hall, hand in hand.  In third grade, he always got the right answer first during Math games.  john was a kind and friendly member of the Class of 57.  His wonderful smile was the frosting on the  cake.    John will surely be missed by many folks.  My sincere sympathy to John's sister Lyn and all his family.   

I too remember John from the Methodist Church many years ago.  He was a big presence in the life of our Centralia High School class of 1957.  It is good to remember "the good times"!! Our love to his family.

John was a great friend, I do remember one night that John told his dad that he and I were going to a movie in Olympia, where in fact he came to my house (we lived 2 blocks apart on Washington Ave in Centralia) to play in our penny-ante poker game, where winning or losing 50 cents was a big deal. On the following Monday, Johns dad Gene and my dad sat next to each other at Violas Café (100 block of N Tower Ave), and Gene asked my dad if Louie and John had enjoyed the movie. Well my Dad, not knowing what was going on (the poker game was on our dining room table) spilled the beans that no, John was at our house playing poker with some of our other high school buddies. Needless to say, it hit the fan. I have told this story dozens of times with everybody getting a good laugh out of it

I have many memories of John, because my family and his were very close when we were young.  We vacationed together at Rockaway Beach in Oregon every summer.  One very proud moment for me was when John shot a basket during a heated basketball game from halfway down the court and sunk it in the last second of the game.  We won by two points.  I always admired him.

I met John while visiting a friend (jim Hodges) at the Orchard house two years ago .we enjoyed talking sports along with Starbucks coffee which he loved.Wonderful example of what a man should be. Your friend, John Scharer.

Jan and I will miss John and his incredible knowledge. of Sports and Willamette University.  We're sorry we were not notified of his passing.  God Bless you John, Jim and Jan Boutin

What a wonderful legacy to leave for your family. It is a privileged to have known him.
Rosemarie Pavy, Class of 1959

I am so sorry to learn of John's passing.  He was always smiling, so friendly and made a person feel like they had known him  for years.  It was always great seeing him with the headphones and mic during the Blazer games.  My sincere condolences to his family.  He will be greatly missed.