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Uriel Dean Simmons

Jan. 14, 1928 - Nov. 11, 2021

Date of Service: Nov. 19, 2021

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BURLEY – Uriel “Dean” Simmons, 93, passed away November 11, 2021, at his home in Burley, Idaho, with his daughter by his side.

Dean was born and raised in his present home in Burley and always wanted to be at home, even in death. He was born January 14, 1928, in the Pella area of Burley, Idaho, at the home of his maternal grandparents, John Stoker and Mary Jane O’Brien Simmons, to Roy Ivan Ploeger and Valeria May Simmons. His mother later remarried and Dean was sealed in the marriage to Cyrus Presto Williams. On July 31, 1951, he married the love of his life, Blanche Hannah Koyle, in the Idaho Falls Idaho Temple.

Dean’s parents were divorced less than two years after he was born, consequentially he was reared as the twelfth child of his maternal grandparents. He had his name legally changed from Ploeger to Simmons at the age of sixteen.

He loved farming and learned at an early age how to work hard on his grandfather’s farm. He herded cows on the roadside as young as three or four years old; he also worked raking hay, riding the derrick horse, and cultivating and mowing hay behind a horse up until 1953.

The highlight of his childhood was when he went with his grandfather to Bostetter to harvest logs for building a horse barn that still stands today. Its was a three-day trip, but the journey solidified his love for the outdoors and horses.

That love for horses continued throughout his life; a love that was also shared with his daughter, Darla. He had several horses growing up on the farm and enjoyed long rides with his childhood friends. Later in life, he had a great love for a horse named Donny, a trusted horse with whom he spent many happy rides in the hills. He loved to go on trail rides with friends and his daughter and never knew what a well-worn trail meant; many times he made his own trail. He was often referred to as “John Wayne” due to his deep voice and the way he sat in a saddle. His love of horses and trail rides led him to going on wagon rides and his ensuing interest in wagons and buggies. He helped restore a wagon that was made famous by the accident on the Mormon reenactment of the Pioneers coming into the Salt Lake Valley. He restored several buggies with the help of his neighbor, Owen Weedop. He was Wagon Master for two reenactments of the pioneers crossing Cassia County; the first reenactment was the Oregon Trail and the second the California Trail.

Dean graduated from Burley High School and then went to Albion Normal School for four quarters, then to Utah State for a quarter. He severed a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to Australia for two years. Upon returning from his mission, he met Blanche, his beloved wife, at the event of his homecoming, and the rest was history.

Dean taught school for 29 years; 18 years in Burley, and 11 years in Minidoka County while farming 160 areas. Dean was an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and served faithfully in many callings. He severed as a counselor to two Bishoprics, and later as Bishop of the Pella Ward. After the ward was divided into two wards, he served as Bishop of Pella 1st Ward. He also served as High Councilor, Stake Sunday School President, High Priest Group leadership, and Adult Sunday School Teacher, as well as many other callings in the Church.

Dean and Blanche spent 22 years together helping at the Church Family History Center in Burley where Dean continued to work after Blanche passed way. He was 92 when he finally stopped due to the Center being closed as a result of COVID.

Dean and Blanche had five children, Steven Thomas, Kenneth Dean, Robert Dee, Darla Sue, and Gary Lee.

Dean was preceded in death by his wife; his parents and stepfather; his grandparents; and 11 of his aunts and uncles that he was raised with as if he was their little brother. He was also preceded in death by two of his sons, Steven Thomas and Gary Lee; and a grandson, Tyler Dean Simmons.

He is survived by one brother, John Kirk (Clare) William of East Sandwich, Cape Cod, Massachusetts; two sons, Kenneth Dean of Brigham City, Utah, and Robert Dee (Pam) of Roy, Utah; daughter, Darla Sue of Burley; seven grandchildren; and 13 great-grandchildren.

The family wishes to thank Encompass Home Health and Hospice for the loving care they provided during the last few weeks of Dean’s life.

The funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, Nov. 19, at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - Pella 1st Ward, located at 160 W. 400 S., of Burley. Burial will be in Pleasant View Cemetery.

Family and friends will be received from 5 until 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 18, at Rasmussen-Wilson Funeral Home, 1350 E. 16th St., in Burley, and from 10 until 10:45 a.m. Friday, at the church, preceding the funeral service.

A live webcast of the Funeral Service will be available and maintained at the following link: https://youtu.be/cwyeyaMCR70.

Condolences for Uriel Dean Simmons

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From Lamar and Ranae Crockett:
Dean was a special man. We always enjoyed being with him and his sweet wife Blanch. Both will be missed. We are very sorry for your loss Darla. Love you!
From Gay Dawn Downs :
Dean has been an outstanding example of service in our community and more personally was my Bishop in the Pella Ward. Many years later I served at the family history center with him and his dear wife Blanche. I learned so much from both of them. Most recently Dean would come to the Family History Center where my husband Lonnie snd I have been serving. Just in the past month, Dean showed us just how sharp and keen his mind still was as he logged on the computer and proceeded to search his ancestry. He always called us by name and we loved visiting with him. He will be sorely missed but we rejoice in knowing he is with his eternal sweetheart. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.
From Betty and Stan Rasmussen :
Dean and Blanche were such an awesome and kind couple. We knew them for several years at the family history center. We so missed Dean and Blanche when they weren't able to be at the library. Their knowledge, experience and love was endless. We learned so much from them.. Dean missed Blanche so much after sheathed away. What a joyful reunion. Our sincerest condolences. We so loved them both.
From Karen Bird:
Dean was a kind and loving soul. His grandparents that raised him did it the right way. He was loving kind and generous in every way to his family and his wonderful friends. We will always remember him as a special part of our family
From Dennis A Dudley Betty Dudley:
A great guy and a great family. My wife Betty Dudley worked with them in the family history center for 20 years. Blanche and I are cousins. They will be missed. Dennis and Betty Dudley
From Michael Richards :
Darla and family,
Dean was larger than life. He loved his family and his faith. We are saddened at his passing and extend the condolences of the Richards family whose Burley/Pella ties pass with him. Our love to all of you.
From Gladys Koyle Parkinson :
I’m sorry to hear about Dean’s passing. Dean and Blanche were always some of my most respected relatives. They were great people. Our thoughts are with you at this time.
From Hollie Parish Washburn:
Dear Darla and Family, I've always loved your Father and my 6th Grade Teacher at Southwest Elementary! He was a Very Special Man, Kind, Considerate, Hardworking and Sharp as a Tack! He and Blanche taught and served so many years at the Church Family History! You're All in My Thoughts & Prayers at this difficult time!
From Cambry Leahy:
Darla, Ken and family-
I am so saddened by Dean’s passing. He was an incredible man. What a beautiful and rewarding life he lived! Sending my love and condolences to you all.
From Jon LAMBERT:
Mr. Simmons was my sixth grade teacher at Dworshak. I loved how he challenged me in a fun way. He always showed respect for his students and I certainly respected him. I always enjoyed going to school that year. A man of great integrity.
From Jean Freymiller:
What a fabulous man and a GREAT teacher!!! He was my 6th grade teacher and I've adored him every since that time!! Our condolences to Darla and the rest of his family! Jean and Garth Freymiller
From Pat Greenman:
I knew Dean from his service at the Family History Center. When first hearing his booming voice, I looked around expecting to see John Wayne. Dean helped me from time to time with computer programs at the center and told me I was too impatient. He was right! Most of all, I remember the dedication he and Blanche had helping with the important work of family history. What a great man! Terry & I are so thankful our lives have been touched by such a wonderful person. We send our love, appreciation and sympathy to the family. Pat & Terry Greenman
From Wayne Simmons :
Darla and family, we are saddened by the passing of Dean. We’ll always remember during our family’s reunion at the City of Rocks in 2018, Dean taking the time to show us the farm and his museum. My Children and grandchildren will always remember their family ties to Burley. I’m grateful for the last time I saw him and his explaining to me about my father’s house on farm. I love you all.

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