Merl  Simmons
The caring, compassionate, and extremely humble, Dr. Merl Simmons passed away Feb. 12, 2020, at age 67.
He served his family and the Edmond, Okla. community with dedication and love.
For more than 40 years, Merl served as the pediatrician for thousands of children, including multiple generations of the same families.
Born Sept. 23, 1952, in Pampa, Texas to Granville and Mildred Simmons, Merl graduated from Perryton Texas High School in 1971.
While at Perryton, Merl met the love of his life and his best friend, Rona Pitts, who he later married on July 5, 1974.
After high school, Merl attended Texas Tech University where he was a member of the athletics support group known as the Saddle Tramps.
He wanted to become a doctor and enrolled at University of Texas Medical Branch Galveston. Merl loved children and pursued a specialty in pediatrics. He completed his residency and internship at The Children's Hospital in Oklahoma City, Okla., in 1979.
Merl and his family joined Crossings Community Church in 1998, where he was a member of the choir from day one.
An avid sports fan, Merl loved basketball, baseball, and football. He coached youth basketball and baseball. Each winter he took time to attend women's college basketball games - especially at his beloved Texas A&M. Merl loved the game of golf and was a founding member of Oak Tree Country Club. He discovered a love for photography after years of travel and bird watching with his wife, Rona. He enjoyed taking photos of his grandchildren and capturing photos of wildlife, namely birds, in their natural habitat.
His true passion was supporting his family. He attended a variety of activities involving his family from basketball and soccer games, to cheerleading and dance recitals, and Little Wranglers dancing - Merl loved it all.
He liked working with his hands and took on a variety of projects that benefited his family ranging from woodworking to landscaping, including home remodeling.
Merl opened Edmond's first private pediatrics practice in 1979. A board certified pediatrician, and member of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Lord led Merl to join Mercy Clinics in 1998, serving originally at the Memorial clinic and for the past 12 years at the Santa Fe clinic.
Mercy leaned on Merl's expertise, experience, and leadership. He served as the Oklahoma representative to the Sisters of Mercy Pediatric Specialty Council, was the medical director for Mercy Edmond Santa Fe Clinic, served as chief of medicine for 12 years at Mercy Hospital, while also working behind the scenes as a significant contributor to the design of the Mercy Physicians compensation package. He served on the Mercy Kids Board of Directors which provides oversight to the Mercy Regional Health System.
Merl was affiliated with several hospitals including Mercy Hospital in Oklahoma City, and Lakeside Women's Hospital.
He was an integral part in the creation of The Edmond Hope Center, serving on its initial board. He also was a longtime supporter of Anna's House Foundation.
Merl is survived by his wife, Rona Simmons and by his loving family including son, Roe Simmons; son, Djuan Simmons; daughter, Charlee Miller; daughter, Elie Cantrell; brothers, Rusty Simmons, Reece Jackson and Brett Simmons; daughters-in-law, Tara Simmons and Sarah Simmons; and son-in-laws, Steve Miller, and Aaron Cantrell. He is also survived by grandchildren whom he affectionately referred to as his munchkins: Genevieve Simmons, Grace Simmons, Garett Simmons, Mason Simmons, Elizabeth Miller, Raelyn Simmons, Adelynn Miller, Samantha Miller, and Charlotte Cantrell.
A celebration of the life of Dr. Merl Simmons will be 11 a.m. Saturday Feb. 15, 2020, at Crossings Community Church, Portland campus.
Merl dedicated his life to helping children and the family is asking that his friends help continue his legacy. In lieu of flowers the family encourages the support of a scholarship created in Merl's name to help foster children who are pursuing a degree to become a pediatrician or a pediatric nurse.
Services are under the direction of Matthews Funeral Home, Edmond.
Published on February 13, 2020


Send flowers
in memory of Merl
Send flowers

Obituary published in


Print Guestbook

A place to share condolences and memories.
The guestbook expires on May 13, 2020.

Showing 10 of 58 posts

Leanna Keathley
Feb 26, 2020
I am still so heartbroken over the loss of such an amazing human!! Dr. Simmons was so much more than a pediatrician to all three of my boys...since 1992 and then to my grandson. He became family. He was compassionate (trusted completely with my youngest with special needs) and ornery. ♥️ My last conversation with him was just the week before he came into the room he leaned over slightly to tease me about my grey roots. Before he could even say anything I said “I know it’s grey! I need to color it!” and he laughs and says “It’s not nearly as grey as mine! At least you have hair.” 😉 You will be greatly missed, my friend! May God bless and watch over his loved ones.
Leigh george
Feb 26, 2020
Dr Simmons was a constant part of all three of my children’s lives. This saddened me. God Bless his family and comfort you all.
Zhi Zhang
Feb 25, 2020
Our family so terribly sad to learn of Dr. Simmon, Merl's passing. He took care of all three of my sons and daughter since 1998. My children loved him and we trusted him explicitly. He will be missed more than words can say. Prayers for his family.
Ruth Parker
Feb 23, 2020
I met Merl about thirty years ago when he and his wonderful family included me and my son in their Christmas. He led a highly honorable life of caring and giving. My sorrow and sadness for his family and community.
Jerry & Betsy Sullivan
Feb 23, 2020
We met Merl when he & Rona would come to California to visit their close friend Mike & Joanne Ross. Getting to know Merl & Ron has been an absolute joy. Like everyone who ever knew Merl, learning of his passing was absolutely heart breaking. He was such a wonderful man. I feel blessed that albeit only knowing him a relatively short time, we were blessed to have known him. The Simmons family is in our thoughts and prayers. Meek will always be in our hearts. RIP Merl. We miss you already.
Tana Parrott
Feb 20, 2020
I am so sad to hear of the passing of Dr. Simmons. He was an amazing pediatrician who loved his patients and who got to know them personally and wanted to see them succeed. My children who loved going to see him will miss him dearly. My heart goes out to his family who he was always so proud of and loved with all his heart. He will be missed more than words can say. Prayers for his family.
Jennifer Ford
Feb 19, 2020
Dr Simmons always made you feel so welcome. He loved to talk about basketball in Texas. He took time to listen to his patients. He truly has impacted a whole community. Thank you!
Frances and Jason Harris
Feb 19, 2020
I'm so saddened by the news of Dr. Simmons’ passing. I truly can't express what a Godsend he was to our family. I lost my daughter and don't think I could have made it through the raising of my son without him. He was an amazing physician who gave me such peace when I was overly worried. The world truly lost an angel. Thank you for sharing your husband, father, and grandfather with us. God bless and comfort you in this difficult time.
Cherie Hamilton
Feb 19, 2020
I am so terribly sad to learn of Dr. Merl's passing. He took care of all four of my sons, which spanned a period of about 25 years. The boys loved him and I trusted him explicitly. The world was a better place with him in it. My deepest condolences to family.
Jennifer Snow
Feb 19, 2020
We are so sad to hear that Dr Simmons passed away. He has been my children’s dr for 20 years. My girls love him so much. My 8 year old said “I don’t think I’ll ever have another favorite dr like him” she cried when I told her.
Nancy and Bart Frank
Feb 18, 2020
We were so sad to hear of Dr . Simmons passing. He was the most compassionate, gentle and caring doctor. He was a listener and solved all our kids health issues with a smile. It was so wonderful to move to OK in 1986 and find this great caring and kind hearted pediatrician. Our kids liked him too so much. May God send you peace,comfort and blessings.