Janet Tsuruko Simmons

April 21, 1931April 7, 2018
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Janet T. Simmons, age 86, died on Saturday, April 7, 2018. Originally from Hawaii, she was surrounded by family at home in Brentwood, Tennessee. She was preceded in death by her parents, siblings, and dear friend Annie Cole.

She is survived by her sons Winston (Tania) Shurtleff, Kin Simmons, and Ward (Bridget) Simmons and her daughter Ramona (Joseph) Howard. She is also survived by her grandchildren Amiya (Wakeela) Simmons, Akinya (Bill) Price, Ateia (Christopher) Aldridge, Sidney Simmons, Kiara (Louis) Pagan Rodriguez, and Alaya Howard and two great grandsons, Amir Simmons and Jonah Aldridge. She also leaves behind her dear friend Della Woodard, who she spoke to nearly every day.

Back home in Hawaii, she is survived by her sister-in-law Dora Sugai and nieces and nephews Bernie Kaeo of Lihue, Joe (Melissa) Sugai of Anahola, and Judy (Pat) Kelekoma of Princeville. Other family on the mainland include her nieces and nephews Carl (Ginger) Morse of Shreveport, Louisiana; Harold Morse of Tyler, Texas; Francis Morse of Brownsboro, Texas; Elva (Jim) Gray of Mobile, Alabama; Jeffrey (Debbie) Brown of Yorktown, Virginia; and Michael (Debbie) Brown of Murrieta, California. The Hawaiian Islands are home to a number of flowers. Janet Simmons, our mother, grandmother, Nanny, and Gran, was one of these flowers. She was born on the Garden Island of Kauai on April 21, 1931 to Kin and Toshichii Oguro. They named their daughter Tsuruko and raised her and her siblings in Kealia.

She moved to Honolulu and then the mainland, putting down roots of her own in Macon County, Tennessee with her eldest son Winston. After having her second son Kin, the family made its way to Nashville, where Ward and Ramona were born. Janet worked downtown at Harveys department store in seasonal decor. Raising four children on her own, times were often lean, but she provided for them. After Harveys, Janet helped run a daycare for the Martha O’Brien Center, realizing her life’s greatest work and passion: caring for babies. She was her best self with a baby in her arms. It was also working at the Martha O’Brien Center that she met Annie Cole, whose friendship brought her great joy.

Janet later became a prep cook with Shoney’s and worked there for over 20 years. Her friends Molly and Donna became daughters to her, and she became known as Mama Janet. Those close to Janet knew she was a skilled gardener. Most recently she was proud of the two golden pineapples she grew in the family’s Brentwood garden. Janet could work magic with any bloom, shoot, or root. In her free time, she enjoyed crocheting, going on rides with her son-in-law, doing crossword puzzles, watching Golden Girls and Walker-Texas Ranger, and making long distance calls to friends and family.

In lieu of flowers the family asks that contributions be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The family would also like to thank the staff at AsceraCare Hospice. To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance. Ecclesiastes 3:1-4 King James Version


  • Celebration of Life Saturday, April 14, 2018

Janet Tsuruko Simmons

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Bridget Simmons

April 29, 2018

A poem
Bridget Simmons

Home to the Lord you have gone
A legacy of love you leave us all
Your feistiness and determination
Is our strength
Your courage our hope
Your faith our salvation
Missed, you will be
Loved, always
Farewell for now.
Your legacy we will carry on.
Home to the Lord you have gone.

Brenda Ladnier

April 14, 2018

Akinya and family,
I met your precious grandmother at your wedding and what a beautiful lady! Your family was truly blessed to have such a wonderful woman as she.
I know your heart is hurting and prayer with love are being sent.
Our hearts truly mourn with you.
Brenda Ladnier

Tanya Wheaton

April 10, 2018

Dear Ramon and Family,
I cannot express to you in words the sadness I feel on the loss of your dear sweet mother.
I am honored to have known her and to come to love her. She was a little woman with a great presence, her smile lit up her entire face, and what a beautiful face she had. The love that I saw you, Joey and the girls bestow upon her these last 18 years since I was blessed to know your family was absolutely beautiful. I loved sitting in her bedroom and talking with her, and to make her laugh brought me such joy. I will never forget the day she told me that she loved me, I was on cloud nine! I know that she was very proud of you ( her Mo) Joey and her babies. Whenever she spoke of you all such a gleam came over her face that is was apparent that she loved you all with every single bone in her body! May Gob Bless You and Keep All Of You In The Palms Of His Wonderful Hands.