Sidney Artell Simmons was the eldest of nine children born in Chicago, Illinois to William S. Simmons and Frances Nance Simmons. He was born on November 14, 1941, and departed this life on Saturday, January 15, 2022.
Sidney was baptized at Second Baptist Church under the pastorate of Reverend C. Nathaniel Hawk.
Sidney attended Evanston Public Schools and graduated from Evanston Township High School in 1959. Shortly thereafter, he enlisted in the United States Army, obtaining the rank of Drill Instructor/Sergeant. During his four years in the military, he travelled all over Europe, but always had the fondest memories of living in Germany.
Sidney returned to Evanston in 1964 where he worked briefly for Pelfax and drove a taxi.
Later, he was a carpentry apprentice under the late John Posey. It was at this time Sidney developed his passion for carpentry. He was not just a carpenter; he was a visionary and an artist. He later worked for the Claude Pitts Construction and Remodeling Company. Sidney met and mentored Steve Ferguson who later became Sidney’s business partner. This relationship led to the development of the Simmons and Ferguson Building and Remodeling Company. This partnership was phenomenally successful and led to major projects funded by the Evanston Community Development Corporation. As a result of this grant, they rehabbed all but one home in the 1800 block of Lyons Street. Simmons and Ferguson continued to prosper and acquired contracts for condominium conversions in Lincoln Park. They continued to obtain work in the Evanston area; these projects included rehabbing Fisher Memorial Church, First Church of God, the Gas Light, a popular bar which they converted to a full-fledged club, as well as the Free and Easy night club. Although their business partnership ended, Sidney and Steve continued to have the utmost respect and admiration for one another.
Sidney had always dreamed of being a father and happily served as a father figure to many. One of these special relationships included Nirbra White. On November 8, 1983, Michael Simmons was born to Sidney and Denice Eason. Michaels was Sidney’s pride and joy, and he was a very hands-on dad, who worked the remainder of his life to create a legacy for his son. Together, Sidney and Michael have rehabbed single-family houses and buildings all over the South and West sides of Chicago. Many of these single-family homes were sold yet many of their apartment buildings were retained by them as an accumulation of wealth.
Over the past two years, during Sidney’s illness, Michael remained a devoted son who tirelessly cared for his father. In these current times you would be hard pressed to find a young man who was willing to make such sacrifices.
Sidney is survived by one devoted son, Michael Simmons; three loving siblings, Kimberley (Charles) Spivey, Herman Simmons, and Julie Simmons; two grandchildren Michael Jr. and Chase; loving aunt, Minnie Choice; a host of nieces; nephews; great nieces; great nephews; cousins and friends.
Arrangements entrusted to Evanston Funeral & Cremation, Roland F. Weis director. Info 847 866-8843, condolence and guestbook at evanstonfuneral.com
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