Ralph Edward Simmerman (Tommy), born April 27, 1940 in Ethel, West Virginia to Otto and Lucille Simmerman, passed away unexpectedly at home on April 4, 2021.
He was a 1958 graduate of Linesville High School in Pennsylvania. He attended Edinboro University, where he obtained his bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education in 1962 (English and Social Studies) and his master’s degree in Education in 1968. He was also a member of Delta Sigma Phi fraternity.
He was a longtime volunteer in various youth leagues in the Titusville area, including recreational baseball, where he volunteered as a coach and sat on multiple league boards. He was also a Sunset Riders 4-H leader for over 25 years. He assisted the club and its youth with everything from taking care of horses and animals to hauling animals and club members around to shows. He constantly worked with the community through Marley Veterinary Clinic and other community assets to ensure that his group of kids had everything they needed to succeed. He helped organize and host multiple horse shows around Crawford and Erie counties for children to enjoy showing their animals.
He was a staple on the Titusville High School faculty from 1963 to 2001. He taught all subjects, including History, English and even Math. During his time at THS, he was a girls and boys basketball coach for more than 20 years, until 1985 when he decided to devote more time to his children.
Later, as his children developed interests, he became a THS baseball coach to watch them grow and help other kids. He also presided as a referee for countless THS track meets during his tenure. Ralph and his family hosted three foreign exchange students during this time as well.
Aside from his children, he enjoyed reading and working with kids in general. He gave so many young children the opportunity to work with animals who would never otherwise have been able to. He opened up his home to hundreds of youth. He was the consummate teacher, both in the classroom and outside.
Prior to having children of his own, he would haul children all over the tri-state area, letting them show his horses, so they could have better opportunities and build self-confidence. He also enjoyed woodworking in his later years and any type of project that allowed him to build and create. As he got older, the Amish community heavily relied on him to transport them around, which he gladly did.
He appeared at the Crawford and Erie County Fairs regularly showing his pure-bred Arabian horses with many of the kids he helped along the way. He was an unselfish, community-minded man who had a great disposition. He could hold a conversation for hours and remember details of that conversation for the next time.
He is survived by his wife of 43 years, Judie (McCune) Simmerman, of Centerville; a sister, Gayle Hildack (Roger), of Andover, Ohio; his two children, Jason Simmerman and wife, Stephanie, of Washington D.C., and Jeremy Simmerman and wife, Lynne, of Washington D.C., and three stepchildren, Kim Amato, of Pittsburgh, Mike Kovski, of Erie, and TJ Kovski, of Erie. He had 11 grandchildren; Mindy, Maria, Nicole, Steven, Salina, Chelsey, Tyler, Alexis, Norah, Zachary and Sabastian. He also had four great-grandchildren; Logan, Jax, Myah and Elizabeth. He was close with the Bements (Dale Sr., Barb, Lucy and Dale Jr.) and their family, as well as Luke and Lester Lee and their family. He made countless close friends along the way due to being a staple in the community.
He ended up teaching generations of children through his nearly 40 years of teaching at THS and 60 years of working with the community. It was not uncommon for him to have grandchildren of parents he taught as children, both at his house working with horses or in his classroom.
He is preceded in death by his brothers; Otto (Jack), Howard and Robert; sisters, Janet and Mary Lou, and his parents, Nora (Lucille) and Otto. He will be greatly missed by his family, friends and the countless people whose lives he changed.
Friends and Family are invited to celebrate Ralph’s life at his residence on Saturday, April 10 from 2 to 5 p.m. at 16035 State Route 8, Centerville Pa. 16404. In typical Ralph style, be prepared to stay and chat longer.
Rather than flowers, the family would prefer a donation to 4-H Youth in Crawford County at raise.psu.edu/4HCrawford, or any program that helps children grow.
You can contribute to the 4-H Horse and Pony Program by sending a check to Crawford County 4-H Horse and Pony Leaders, in care of Penn State Extension Crawford County, 1099 Morgan Village Road, Suite A, Meadville, Pa. 16335.
Funeral arrangements are under the direction of the Gordon B. Garrett Funeral Home, 303 N. Washington St., Titusville, Pa. 16354. To leave a condolence for the family go to garrettfuneralhomeinc.com.