Margaret Patricia (Pat) Simmons of Sailfish Point, Stuart, FL and Plandome Manor died Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017 after a long illness at Moravian Manor in Lititz, PA. She was 88 years of age. She is a beloved mother, grandmother and great grandmother who lived a full and wonderful life.
Patty Casey, as she was known as a child, was born in 1929 to her parents Frank F. Casey and Marie K. Casey. She graduated from Manhasset High School in June of 1946. As a child she rode horses, sailed, was an accomplished ice skater and loved her dance lessons.
Her professional career began as a ballerina. It continued as a choreographer and culminated in her directing the Dance Department of the New York School of the Performing Arts. She studied ballet and dance with Alexandra Fedorova Ballet School, American School of Ballet, Beaux Arts School and with Martha Graham. One of her Russian dance instructors could not pronounce “Patty” and instead called her “Potsy”, a nickname which stuck for the rest of her life with her family and close friends. She attended Sarah Lawrence College from 1946-48 but left to pursue her career as a ballerina. She danced with the Metropolitan Opera Company’s Ballet de Corps during their 1949 and 1950 seasons. Additionally, she danced with the Alexandra Fedorova Company in 1949-1951.
She performed one season with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo in 1948. She also performed with the Paper Mill Playhouse in 1949 and made television commercials in 1951.
In 1951 she began teaching at the New School of the Performing Arts in New York City (think of the movie Fame) and continued there until 1955 chairing its dance department.
She married Richard (Dick) Sheridan Simmons on June 30, 1955 and accompanied him to Germany where he served with the U.S. Army for two years. Upon returning to the states, her husband joined the law firm of Cravath Swaine and Moore, first as an associate, then partner and finally as co-presiding partner. Dick left Cravath to become Vice Chairman of the board of Chemical Bank. Throughout this time she traveled extensively with her husband and son creating a lifelong love of travel and a desire to see new places. She was especially fond of Istanbul, Turkey.
Their son, William (Bill) Richard Simmons was born on Aug. 12, 1960. From that point, until Bill went off to boarding school, she was a stay-at-home mom. Her family was, without a doubt, her first priority.
Pat volunteered for many years with the New York Legal Aid Society and chaired the Legal Aid Society Annual Ball in 1978 and 1979 as well as their Tennis for Everyone event at Forrest Hills Tennis Center. She was also a deacon for many years at the Community Reformed Church in Manhasset.
She had a deep love of golden retrievers and had many in her lifetime. One of her dogs that she bred, Clarie, won Best of Opposite Sex at the 1969 Westminster Dog Show.
With the untimely death of Dick in 1991, she began to spend more and more time in Florida. There, she took up the game of golf, cultivated a new group of friends, and became very active with local philanthropic organizations. These included the Lyric Theatre, The Ovation Concert Series at the Lyric Theatre, the Barstow Reed Society, and The Blake Memorial Library. She continued to travel extensively, go to the Metropolitan Opera whenever she could, and spend time with her family.
She is survived by her son, William (husband of Deidre Simmons) of Lancaster, PA and her three granddaughters, Caitlin Findlay (wife of Brian Findlay) of Richmond VA; and twins; Abigail and Samantha Simmons of Lancaster, PA. She has two great-grandchildren; Case and Claire Findlay of Richmond, VA.
A memorial service was held on Dec. 27, 2017 at The Groffs Family Funeral and Cremation Services, 528 W. Orange Street (corner of W. Orange and Pine St.) Lancaster, PA. Interment will be private at Nassau Knowles in Port Washington, NY, where Dick and her parents are buried. Memorial events in her honor will be held in NYC and Sailfish Point in January or February of 2018.
In lieu of flowers, please send contributions to the ASPCA or your local animal shelter or humane league.
Please visit Margaret’s memorial page at www.TheGroffs.com.