Ronald Lee Simmons

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Ronald Lee Simmons, 71, of La Plata Ronald Lee Simmons, 71 of La Plata, Maryland, formerly of Kansas City, Ks. Passed a way August 12, 2002 at Civista Medical Center. Ronald, the son of Howard H. and Anna Miller Simmons, was born December 17, 1930 in Kansas City, Missouri. His parents and grandson Nathan Aaron Carpenter preceded him in death. Mr. Simmons was an Internationally recognized authority on solid propellants with over 49 years of experience in solid propellants and explosives. His work covered a wide spectrum of research, design, development, manufacture, and testing of solid propellants for rockets, guns, gas generators, automotive air bag inflator, and propellant-actuated devices. As well as commercial explosives, nitroglycerin-based dynamites, underground and strip mining explosives, ammonium nitrate blasting agents, the use of surplus and obsolete solid propellants as mining explosives, and the synthesis + characterization of new energetic ingredients for explosives and propellants. He graduated from the Argentine High School in 1948 and from the University of Kansas in 1952 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Chemistry. He then attended Graduate School at the University of Kansas where he studied Physical Chemistry. He began his career with Hercules Powder Company later known as Hercules Aerospace in 1953 and worked for Hercules until 1973. During this period he worked at the Hercules plants at De Soto, Kansas, Kenvil, New Jersey, Cumberland, Maryland, Salt Lake City, Utah, and Eglin Air Force Base in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. From May 1973 to June 1974, he worked for Rocketdyne at Canoga Park, Ca. In 1987 unilt 1989, he consulted in the US, Germany, and Taiwan on various aerospace propulsion topics. Since October 1989, Mr. Simmons was employed with the United States Naval Surface Warfare Center at Indian Head, MD, as a Senior Propulsion Technologist/Specialist. Mr. Simmons was an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics AIAA; AIAA Solid Rocket Technical Committee 1984-1987; AIAA Propellants and Combustion Technical Committee 1980-1983; National Defense Industrial Association NDIA; National Academy of Sciences International Affairs Committee 2001, National Research Council/National Academy of Science Committee 1998, and Alpha Ci Sigma Chemistry. He authored over 80 technical publications with Hercules Aerospace, Rocketdyne and the United States Navy. He was developing technical books and a lecture series concerning the history of solid propellants and the fundamentals of gun propulsion. He holds four patents on powders and propellants. He received the JANNAF Combustion recognition award in November 2000 and the David Packard award for US Marines AAAV 30/40mm program IPT team. His business required him to travel to numerous countries including Germany, Russia, Switzerland, Sweden and Norway. Ron?s hobbies included flying, hiking, photography, family genealogy, spelunking, chess, and competitive pistol shooting. He was also an avid sports car enthusiast. He was the Chairman of the Kittatinny NJ Grotto of the National Speleological Society NSS 1960-1964. He participated in numerous state MD, VA, CA, and UT, regional, and national pistol matches, including final tryouts only by invitation to the top 50 competitors in the US for the International Shooting Teams in 1975, 1976 and 1977. Ron was Firearms Instructor for Allegany County Maryland Sheriff?s Department from 1968 to 1973 and held the title of Pistol Champion of Western Maryland from 1968 to 1973. He held Private single-engine, Commercial, Flight Instructor licenses; Basic, Advanced and Instrument Ground Instructor licenses, Instrument and SeaPlane ratings. He volunteered his time to act as a judge for local elementary and high school science competitions for the last five years of his life. In March of 1951 Ron married Jean Smith in Kansas City, Kansas. They have three children. Surviving are a son William Ronald Simmons and his wife Cynthia of St. Joseph, Missouri, two daughters Ann Lorraine Simmons and her husband Russell Mulock of Los Angeles, California and Sharon Kay Carpenter and her husband Randy of Fort Walton Beach, Florida and a brother Donald H. Simmons and his wife Carri of Overland Park, Kansas. In August 1990 he married Carol Krause Simmons in La Plata, Maryland. Other survivors include eleven grandchildren, two stepdaughters, Tracy Jeanne Back of St. Louis, Missouri and Kerri Louise Tibbits Bowman of Charlotte, North Carolina, numerous cousins, nieces, nephews and friends and colleagues around the world. Visitation will be held August 15 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. with a service at 3 p.m. at Arehart-Echols Funeral Home, La Plata. In lieu of flowers, the family suggest memorial contributions be made to the Smithsonian Institution in care of the County First Bank, P.O. Box 2752, La Plata, Maryland 20646-2265. Arrangements are being handled by Arehart-Echols Funeral Home, La Plata.

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