Michael Simons, 32, of St. Lawrence, passed away Thursday, November 12, 2015 at Avera McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls.
Funeral Mass will be 10:30 a.m., Monday, November 16, 2015 at the Miller Armory with Father Chester Murtha and Captain Father Bob Lacey, celebrants. Lunch will follow at the Miller Community Center. Burial will be 3:00 p.m., Monday, November 16, 2015 at the Morningside Cemetery, Ree Heights with full military honors. Visitation will be 2:00 to 4:00 p.m., Sunday, November 15, 2015 with a 4:00 p.m. prayer service at the St. Lawrence Community Church with Pastor Scot Tutt officiating.
Michael Dale Simons was born in Miller, SD, on January 15, 1983, to Dale and Lorelei (Heida) Simons. He grew up on the farm northeast of Miller and most of his early years were spent outdoors exploring with his sister, Anna, and playing with cousins Monica and Melanie. A large portion of his time was probably spent hanging upside down from a green gate while dad fed the cows.
He graduated from Miller High School in 2001, where he stood out as an athletic, kind, artistic young man. He excelled in football, wrestling, track, music, and drawing – however, all Mike ever really wanted to be was a soldier. Following in his grandfather and father’s steps, he enlisted in the Army National Guard unit in Miller, SD, his junior year of high school. He, along with his uncle Dean and great-uncle Myron, was activated at the beginning of the Iraq war and mobilized to Ft. Campbell, KY, February to May 2003, and later deployed to Iraq from December 2003 to February 2005. He later deployed again, with his uncle, to Iraq at the close of the war, from June 2011 to June 2012. Between these deployments you could find him building homes alongside his uncle Duane, and traveling, hiking, and camping with friends and family. He was proud to be present at his sister’s graduation from basic training in 2009.
Mike picked up playing the guitar during his time overseas and was quite talented and entertaining. However, his military service took a severe mental and physical toll on his body, and returning to civilian life proved difficult for him, most notably after his last deployment. His family is grateful that the last few weeks of his life he was very well, and was able to personally connect with many of the people he cared about. We do not know the exact moment he left us, but we were able to say our goodbyes on Veteran’s Day, which is only too appropriate. Surrounded by his biological and military families alike, Mikey was drafted into God’s Army shortly after midnight, on November 12th, 2015. As he requested, his body will be laid to rest in Ree Heights, next to his brother in arms, Alex.
Awaiting him in heaven were his great-grandparents, Bernard and Berniece Simons; grandfather, Gerrit Heida; uncle, Randy Evans; and his older sibling that he never got to know here in this life.
He will be missed by every single person that was blessed to know him. Our soldier finally gets to come home from the war.
We ask that any memorial be given in one of the following ways: Michael’s classmates have set up a “Go Fund Me” donation site in his memory, if you would like to donate and support NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) of SD please visit: https://www.gofundme.com/fea2kc4c# or the The PTSD Support Group in Miller has an account set up at American Bank & Trust, Miller, SD. Please memo donations “In memory of Mike Simons”.
Reck Funeral Home of Miller has been entrusted with Mike’s arrangements.