The Honorable James M. Simmonds III passed away at his Breckenridge, Texas, residence on Saturday, September 5, 2020, at the age of 82. He was born on February 9, 1938, in Temple, Texas, to Gladys Gotcher and James M. Simmonds II.
Judge Simmonds was preceded in death by his wife, Janie Norris Simmonds. He is survived by daughter, Shelley Simmonds Weidenbach and husband, Myron Weidenbach of Rockwall, Texas; daughter Carey Simmonds Woodward and husband Brad Woodward of Breckenridge, Texas; and son J.M. Simmonds and wife, Michele Simmonds, of Breckenridge, Texas. He also is survived by grandchildren Riley Weidenbach, Sidney Weidenbach, Owen Woodward, Lilly Woodward, Hudson Woodward, Grady Simmonds, Landry Woodward and Jackson Woodward; great grandson Max Woodward; sister Sue Dale Simmonds Baldwin and husband Jasper H. Baldwin; and nephews Forrest Baldwin, Jim Norris and Scott Norris.
The Simmonds family moved to Hunt, Texas, in 1950 from South Texas. The Judge graduated from Tivy High School. He was a 1961 graduate of Texas Tech University, where he was a member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity. He attended St. Mary’s School of Law in San Antonio earning a Doctor of Jurisprudence in 1964. Following law school, he and Janie moved to Del Rio where he began his law practice with the firm of Pettit, Putman & Simmonds.
Judge Simmonds served as the city attorney for nearly 10 years and subsequently as municipal judge for two years. He was appointed to the newly created Val Verde County Court-at-Law, was sworn in on April 2, 1981, and was elected to his first term the following year. He served as county court-at-law judge through 1998. Following his last term in office, he served the state of Texas for more than 10 years as a visiting judge, where he heard cases in counties throughout west Texas.
An avid outdoorsman, the Judge loved hunting and fishing. He was a member of St. James Episcopal Church and active with the Val Verde County Bar Association. The Judge moved to Breckenridge, Texas, in 2016 to be near his family.
A graveside ceremony will be at 10 a.m. on Monday, September, 14, 2020, at Westlawn Cemetery in Del Rio. Pallbearers include Byron Hodge, Larry McBee, Jesse Fernandez Jr., Enrique Fernandez, J.H. (Sonny) Baldwin and Ramon Mendez. Honorary pallbearers include Bill Cauthorn, Lynn Wildman, Clay Barton, Bryant Williams, Wilson Scaling and Larry Graham.
Memorials may be made to St. James Episcopal Church, 206 W. Greenwood St. Del Rio, TX; the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society or the charity of your choice. Funeral arrangements are with Melton-Kitchens Funeral Home in Breckenridge, Texas.