Dr. Merl Wayne Simmons

1952-2020Simmons, Merl

The caring, compassionate, and extremely humble, Dr. Merl Simmons passed away on February 12, 2020 at age 67. He served his family and the Edmond 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 September 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 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. Merl 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, and Reece Jackson and Brett Simmons.

Daughters-in-law Tara Simmons and Sarah Simmons, son-in-law’s Steve Miller, and Aaron Cantrell.

Grandchildren 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 held Saturday February 15, 2020 at Crossings Community Church, Portland campus, at 11am.

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 impacted by Anna’s House who are pursuing a degree to become a pediatrician or a pediatric nurse.



  1. We will miss Dr. Simmons. He has taken care of two generations of our family. The best thing about him has a doctor was he was never in a hurry. Always had the time to talk to you and made you so comfortable. Every child was always special. One grandchild was often sick the first two years and I will never forget when he said “his kids never wait to be seen” If they were sick he saw them that day.

    My heart goes out to his family for their loss. Please know that Dr. Simmons was a wonderful person and doctor and many will miss him. God bless all of you and our prayers will be with you.

  2. Dr. Simmons will truly be missed. He’s taken care of both of my kids since birth, and they are now teenagers. My son had surgery at 7 weeks; I still remember Dr. Simmons calling us, not only at the hospital while we were waiting to have surgery, but at home after my son was released. He genuinely cared and we felt that every time we saw him. My heart, my thoughts, my prayers go out to his family.

  3. I want to thank God for the life of Merl Simmons. He was a gift to all of his patients and their families. Prayers of comfort for the entire Simmons’ family.

  4. To a wonderful boss and friend. I had the pleasure of working with Merl for many years. What a joy that was. So many families I had the joy of taking care of with him. Children are a blessing from God. Merl had that special touch with each and every child. He will truly be missed. To the whole Simmons family, many prayers and blessings. Thank you all for being a friend to me. All my love Ela.

  5. Dr. Simmons cared for both of our children from birth until college when he finally had to “kick” us out of the nest ! 😄We loved his caring and compassionate spirit and his ability to make us feel everything was always going to be ok. He will be dearly missed!

    The Bowlwares
    Janeane and Ben

  6. Merl and I were in the same graduating class and will definitely be missed.
    Prayers of comfort go out to Merl’s family and to his his many friends as they grieve his passing.

  7. Dr. Simmons took care of both my children, even being there for Jessica’s delivery since she was born six weeks early. We had to be kicked out of the fold too. The kids didn’t want to go to any other doctor! He always answered any off hour calls with
    caring words to calm the worrying parents. And was so patient with the children. He will be missed!

  8. Dr. Simmons took care of my siblings and I until we aged out and when i became a mom there was no doubt who their doctor would be. He was an amazing pediatrician. Always took his time never rushed. You could tell every kid he saw was his kid. When my mom passed 2 years ago he would text me every week until he passed to check on me because he knew how hard that loss was. The world lost one of the greatest. Prayers for his family as they go thru such a difficult season. He will be missed deeply.

  9. To Dr. Simmons’ Family & Friends,

    I am so saddened to hear of Dr. Simmons’ untimely death. I’ve known him for almost 30 years since I began taking my son to him as an infant. And now he has been pediatrician to my two grandchildren.
    I’ve always found Dr. Simmons to be kind, considerate, and funny! I still remember an October 31 appointment when he and all his staff dressed up as Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs, complete with “Doc”. And I loved the way he would “squeak” the noses of his toddler patients. I feel fortunate to have known Dr. Simmons for these many years. Our entire family will miss him.

  10. Dear Rona and family,
    I cannot express how heartbroken we are to lose Merl. He was a great doctor, employer and friend. He took care of my two children and two grandchildren.
    He had such a calm manner. My son, Mark, was born with a collapsed lung 32 years ago next week. He took such good care of him. I remember him saying, “Don’t worry, Martha, I will take care of him.” And he did.
    Then my daughter, Morgan, was struck by a car while crossing the street in front of her school. I called him immediately and he met us at the hospital. He said, “No worries, just some bumps and bruises.” He was so reassuring.
    We will miss him.

  11. Oh, our beloved Dr. Simmons…I can’t tell you how much the kids pediatrician meant to me…I am a sobbing mess today…the day I met him was the day Grear was born and we were instant friends…the nurses all thought I was crazy because I had just had surgery and “needed to rest” but I didn’t want the babies to go anywhere without me or Brian, but Dr. Simmons didn’t think I was crazy or talk down to me…he pushed me in a wheelchair and let me go everywhere they went…he took care of me as he took care of our kids…he gave me his home and cell numbers when Grear was a baby and I’ve called and texted him every single time Lucy and Grear were hurt or sick…in the middle of the night or on a Sunday and Dr. Simmons always answered or responded…he would meet us at the office after hours unlocking the door and turning off the alarm just take make sure he was the one who treated our kids…whether it was a breathing treatment or just looking them over…he always offered to come to our house instead of us driving to Edmond after hours because he knew we lived in Bethany and that the kids were hurt or sick…he apologized last summer for not getting back to me sooner explaining he was in Mexico with his family on vacation and didn’t get great cell service…(it was like an hour instead of his usual minutes reply)…I called him once from Arkansas when Brian and Lucy needed a prescription…He of course called this tiny pharmacy in the middle of nowhere to get them a prescription…he checked on Lucy everyday after her surgery…he calmed my nerves when that doctor used words like “risk of lymphoma” …he checked on Grear everyday when he was in the hospital…Dr. Simmons was the best doctor …the best doctor. I know I always thanked him and told him how much I appreciated him, but none of it feels like enough now. We love you so much, Dr. Simmons…thank you for loving the McClure family. Nobody will ever be able to fill your shoes. 💙 🩺 💙🩺

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