April 18, 2024 9:30 am

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‘Mr. Lynnwood,’ Council to honor the legacy of Loren Simmonds

LYNNWOOD—Former four-term Lynnwood City Councilman, Loren Simmonds, 80, passed away peacefully on Saturday, December 30, 2023, at his residence in Mill Creek.

“Loren was a beloved friend of mine,” Mayor Christine Frizzell said during the council work session on January 2. “I got to know Loren through his time sitting here as a councilmember and Loren gave much of his time and much of his passion to our City.”

Loren Simmonds
Former four-term Lynnwood City Councilman, Loren Simmonds. SOURCE: Shannon Sessions.

Simmonds served the City of Lynnwood from 2000 to 2015 as the Council President eight of the sixteen years of his tenure and as the Council Liaison to numerous internal and external boards and commissions, according to the City.

Notable endeavors during his political career include the vision of a City Center, development of both the Office of Economic Development and the Office of Neighborhoods and Community Affairs, and he was a founder of the Lynnwood Parks and Recreation Foundation. Simmonds co-sponsored and established the Neighborhoods and Demographic Diversity Commission, and the Council Office.

“For Loren, I talked with him a couple of times before I ran for council,” Lynnwood Councilman George Hurst told the Lynnwood Times. “He gave me four books to read on being a good leader. After he left the council, I met with him and considered him a mentor. Loren was an asset to the community, a real public servant.”

Loren Simmonds
Loren Simmonds (center-right) campaigning in October of 2015. SOURCE: Loren Simmonds Facebook page.

Simmonds worked extensively with nonprofits including Bethany Christian Adoption Service, PAWS, and Warm Beach Camp & Conference Center in Stanwood.

“Loren was Mr. Lynnwood,” Stanwood Mayor and former Lynnwood City Councilman Sid Roberts told the Lynnwood Times. “Loren was all in for Lynnwood and had a people-first attitude. He was kind and respectful to everyone and listened. Loren often mentored people without them knowing it and was more considerate than confrontational. He lived democracy and civility and believed everyone should get involved in the political process.”

Loren Simmonds
Citizen Award: Loren Simmonds (pictured here with Council Vice President Christine Frizzell and his family). SOURCE: Lynnwood City Government.

Known for his engaging personality, in 2019, Simmonds was recognized with the Honoring Excellence Award, for his continued volunteerism and passion for the community. He sponsored legislation for the creation of Lynnwood University and was an advocate for the business community.

Councilman Simmonds touched the lives of many currently seated council members.

“My heart was very heavy when I learned that Loren passed away,” Councilwoman Julieta Altamirano-Crosby said. “He was my mentor in the first year. We met weekly to review the meeting agendas. He helped me to really understand the background and potential impact of each agenda item. I am going to miss him. He really was a servant, and I would like to see if the Council, as a whole, can acknowledge and do a proclamation in his honor to recognize all of the hard work and the legacy he developed and planned for the best of Lynnwood.”

“My heart goes out to the Simmonds Family,” Councilwoman Shirley Sutton said. “He was a very good mentor. He mentored me many of times when I wanted to give this up.”

“I had one conversation with him [Loren] back in 2019 or so… it was pretty unforgettable, I learned so much,” Councilman Nick Coelho said. “He left me with a stack of three books I am still working on ‘til this day.”

“I too blame Loren Simmonds for me being here,” Councilman Patrick Decker said. “He and I had some great philosophical chats about the City of how things are done back when I was on the planning commission and a couple of times when I was running for a seat with this body. He will be greatly missed by this City and those who knew him personally.”

Shannon Sessions
Loren Simmonds with Shannon Sessions.

“Loren Simmonds was a mentor, advisor, and great friend to many, encouraging others to serve with heart and humility. Loren was a true servant leader who emphasized teamwork, consensus building, a passion to help others, and always kept serving his community as his top priority”, the Proclamation honoring his legacy reads that will be read in a future Business Meeting.

“I knew Loren for more than 20 years before, during and after his time on the city council,” former Council President Shannon Sessions told the Lynnwood Times. “He was a true community servant who cared deeply for Lynnwood, Keith and I called him a friend. Loren was one of the people who originally asked me to run for city council. He really left a legacy in lynnwood with all that he started and nurtured. He will be deeply missed.”

Daughter Wendy Hough reminisced of her father’s gregarious nature, his love of sweets and a passion for writing.

“He loved peanut butter cookies,” Hough shared with the Lynnwood Times. “He was the son of a baker and had a sweet tooth…he loved cookies, donuts and cake.”

Simmonds senior, a World War II veteran, was the owner of a bakery in New Mexico.

“Loren would always dress with style…he always wore slacks and collared shirts,” Hough said.

Simmonds was an avid Seahawks fan and a 26-year season ticket holder.

Loren Simmonds
Loren Simmonds with his daughter-in-law Lanny Hough at Lumen Field before a Seahawks game in 2016. SOURCE: Lanny Hough.

Prior to his tenure on the Lynnwood City Council, Simmonds was a pastor for 12 years who served congregations throughout Washington, Oregon, California, and New Mexico. He held two master’s degrees—a Master of Arts in Religion and another in Divinity—and a Bachelor of Arts degree.

“He believed he could make a difference,” Hough said when asked why her father transitioned to political life. “His background impacting lives from the pulpit prepared the transition into being a development consultant. He recognized his words and had a passion for service.”

Doug Purcell, shared how his connection with Simmonds grew over 30 years from just “two guys who knew [one] another” into a “real friendship.”

“Loren was very proud of his work on behalf of the City of Lynnwood, serving as a steadying voice on the council during tumultuous times,” Purcell said. “We would talk about a number of different things, from what was happening in the City to what was going on in each other’s lives. After half an hour or so, he would always comment, ‘Well, I know you are busy’ and head out the door. I will miss these visits.”

A private service and memorial luncheon will be held on Edmonds beachside for family and close friends on Saturday, January 13.

Councilman Loren Simmonds is survived by two children, Wendy Hough and Tyler, their mother Sheri Simmonds of 53 years, five grandchildren, and one greatgrandchild.

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