Eugene “Joe” Simmons

Funeral services for 49-year old Eugene “Joe” Simmons, longtime director of the Chadron Native American Center, are Monday, Nov 30, 2020, at 10:00 AM at Chamberlain Chapel in Chadron, NE.

Visitation is Sunday, Nov 29, 2020 from 5:00-7:00 PM at Chamberlain Chapel.

Online condolences may be left at

In Remembrance:

There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love.

Eugene “Joe” Simmons asked for so little but gave so very much. Eugene was given his Indian name during a ceremony at Fort Robinson, Akicita Wakanyeja Awayanka, A Soldier Who Protects Children, was also a man who loved his friends.

Eugene J. Simmons was born on June 10, 1971 in Scottsbluff, NE to Eugene L. Simmons and Marjorie White Bear Claws and made his journey to the Spirit World on Nov 22, 2020.

Upon graduation from high school in Crawford, NE, Joe continued his education at Peru State College, receiving his bachelor’s degree in Sports Management, Elementary Education with honors in 1998.

Joe served in the National Guard until 2002, receiving the Individual achievement medal of excellence.

Joe dedicated his life to helping his community and giving back to it. He became the Program Manager at Suanne Big Crow Boys and Girls Club, where he worked with high-risk youth by implementing a gang prevention program.

Joe had great leadership skills and spoke at National Conferences to help get funding for programs involving the youth.

Joe traveled all over the region as a speaker for the Native American Children. He developed and established youth programs bringing cultural competence to his community.

Joe was the director of the Native American Center in Chadron, NE, for 17 plus years, where he oversaw grant writing and co-hosted pow wows in the area for 10 plus years, bringing culturally diverse people together.

Joe was licensed as a Talking Circle Leader, Peer Support Leader in 2014, and a Living Well coach in 2014. Joe’s culture was an important part of his journey.

Joe is a local legend at Crawford High School, where he scored 1,081 points and grabbed over 500 rebounds as a three-time Panhandle All-Conference selection. He continued to stay active at many basketball and volleyball tournaments throughout the area over the years and was a regular player in pickup games at the Chadron State College PAC throughout the years.

He served as a big brother figure to many college students that he met through sports. He was a great father to his children and taught them the game he loved so much. Joe continued to sponsor several basketball tournaments to help his community.

Joe spent some of his free time playing on a local pool league, but also enjoyed fishing and spent several of his last days doing so.

Joe was proud of his family and always wanted them to know this. He would go above and beyond to let them know that they were his world and could often be found playing basketball with his children in his spare time. Joe’s children were what his world revolved around.

Joe left this world doing what he loved, playing ball. He will be missed by many especially his children Candace, Josie, Riah, Justice and Chance.

Eugene “Joe’ Simmons is preceded in death by his Grandfather George Simmons, Grandmother Mary Simmons, Father Eugene L. Simmons, Uncle Virgil Simmons, Stepmother Leanne Barret, Grandfather, Lyle White Bear Claws, Grandmother, Phoebe Thunder Horse.

Eugene is survived by his five children Candace Walahoski of Lincoln, NE, Josie Shea of Lincoln, NE, Riah Baily-Simmons of Gering, NE Justice Simmons, and Chance Simmons. both of Sidney, NE; mother Marjorie White Bear Claws of Pine Ridge, SD; siblings Jennifer Simmons of Rapid City, SD, George Simmons of Chadron, Ne, Michael Simmons of Topeka Kansas; half-sisters Susie Rosales of Alliance, Ne, Lisa Star of Pine Ridge, SD, Silas Star of Pine Ridge, SD and Pearle Star of Pine Ridge, SD, uncle Frank Simmons of Salinas, CA.; niece Tina Payne & family of Lincoln, NE; nephew Anthony Perkins & family of Rapid City, SD, Tiffany Morrison & family of Platteville, CO, Jerymyah Simmons of Chadron, NE,

Joe is also survived by several nieces and nephews, step-nieces and nephews, and loved ones. Joe also spent a lot of time with his great nieces and nephews, and is survived by several uncles, aunts and cousins from all over the area.

Bible Verse: 20. Matthew 11:28-30

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”