Roger J. Simmons passed away on August 18, 2021, as a result of complications associated with dementia.
Over his 81 years of life, he was able to develop and pursue deep commitments to racial equality and international development. He worked with the U.S. Agency for International Development, both as a contractor (addressing issues of public administration in Nigeria, Liberia, Tanzania, and Swaziland) and as a Foreign Service officer (as the program officer in Mali and as Deputy Mission Director in Kenya and Russia, as well as tours in Washington).
His wife, Emmy Simmons, also served as a Foreign Service officer, and they were able to function as a “tandem couple” in Mali on the Sahel Development Planning Team, in Kenya in the Regional Office for East and Central Africa, and in Russia. Roger retired from USAID in 2000, although he continued to participate in training new staff until 2004.
Emmy retired from USAID in 2005. In December 2020, they moved into the Vinson Hall Retirement Community in McLean, less than two miles away from their “first house” (purchased in 1978) in the Chesterbrook Woods community.
Roger Simmons was born in Boston, Massachusetts and grew up in the suburb of Malden. He graduated from Tufts University (having spent a few gap years working on farms and rural resettlement in Kenya) and the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA) at the University of Pittsburgh.