The passing of Helen Canaday Simms on February 13, 2015 brought to a close her 41 year relationship with Lakewood. Mrs. Simms worked side by side with her late husband, The Reverend Albert E. Simms, founding Administrator of Lakewood. Accepting this position in 1974, together they were involved with the planning and opening of this Community that would remain a part of their lives until their passing. Mr. Simms retired as Administrator in 1983, and they remained loyal supporters of the ministry at Lakewood. Following his retirement, the Simms were active in Virginia Baptist life as they had been during his pastorates at Calvary Baptist Church in Newport News and Rivermont Avenue Baptist Church in Lynchburg and during his service as a Trustee of Virginia Baptist Homes where he served as Secretary of the Board prior to working for Lakewood.
In 1995, the Simms moved to their apartment at Lakewood and instantly became involved in service. Among their interests were for him the Saw Dust Club and she enjoyed committee work including serving as Chair of the Library Committee. She was also a loyal participant in Vesper Services, etc. Following Mr. Simms passing in 2003, Mrs. Simms made a gift of a new organ for the Simms Center — the Center had been named in their honor upon their retirement. Mrs. Simms loved music, and Ann Bailey, who generously shares her joy for playing the organ for many of Lakewood’s programs, has commented that she was always pleased when Mrs. Simms would quietly enter the Simms Center very early on her practice mornings to listen to her practice music she would later perform during vesper services, etc. During her later years, Mrs. Simms received care in Assisted Living and the Health Services Center.
For all those who appreciated and admired Mrs. Simms, it is gratifying to know that this ministry, to which she and Mr. Simms devoted many years, provided each of them a fulfilling life and loving care as their years at Lakewood came to a close. Virginia Baptist Homes’ mission of “Dignity in Living” was fulfilled in the lives and Albert and Helen Simms.