Gail Baldwin Simmonds, 70, formerly of Wyndmoor, a headmaster’s assistant at Chestnut Hill Academy for 14 years and a longtime community volunteer, died of cancer March 7 at Cathedral Village, where she had resided for the past year.
For her service to CHA, which included starting a boys’ knitting club, Mrs. Simmonds was presented with the school’s Landreth Award and made an Honorary Alumnus in 2009.
Frank Steel, head of school at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, said Mrs. Simmonds has been “a true and loyal force in our school community for most of her life.
She also had worked as an administrative assistant at advertising agencies and the Donesco Company.
She had been a volunteer with the Friends of the Chestnut Hill Library, Springside School, Wyndmoor Community Association and Chestnut Hill Hospital. She hosted Springside reunion luncheons and started the Spring Lane block party.
An active member of St. Thomas’ Church, Whitemarsh for nearly 60 years, she served on the Vestry, stewardship and search committees. She also chaired the Country Fair and Memorial Committee, and organized galas, dinners and trips.
A native Philadelphian, Mrs. Simmonds was a graduate of Springside School and Centenary College, Hackettstown, N.J., where she earned an Associate of Arts degree. After graduation, she spent a year working in London, where she met her future husband, the late David F.C. Simmonds.
She was especially known for her love of sewing, gardening, walking her beloved basset hound in Valley Green and traveling extensively with her daughters – from the coast of Maine to remote villages in Malawi.
She is survived by daughters Barbara Simmonds of Palo Alto, Calif., and Caroline Simmonds Cook of Washington, D.C., and sisters, Barbara Baldwin Miller, of Chestnut Hill, and Candace Baldwin Richards, of Scottsdale, Ariz.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 16, at St. Thomas’ Church, Whitemarsh.
Memorial donations may be made in her name to St. Thomas’ Church, Whitemarsh, P.O. Box 247, Fort Washington, PA 19034, or the National Brain Tumor Society, 124 Watertown St., Suite 2D, Watertown, MA 02472. – WF