Final Notes, Woody Simmons

Woodford Harmon “Woody” Simmons, 93, died June 3 in Elkins West Virginia. Born at Becky's Creek near Huttonsville in 1911, Simmons worked at many occupations— from road construction and logging to running a service station and several juke box and pinball businesses. His tireless dedication to playing fiddle contests endured from the start of his life to the very end, and Woody Simmons probably won more prizes than any other fiddler. With him he took an encyclopedia of life histories of all the people whose paths he crossed. His sharp ear for tuning and standard of excellence in playing followed him all of his life. He played a very technical style all of his own, yet kept true to the foundation of the old-time traditions. His attire was always coat and tie and he always presented his music with the ultimate of dignity, taste, and beauty. He was a grand recipient of the prestigious Vandalia Award in 1983, given to him for his unstinting dedication to preserving and presenting West Virginia’s heritage music. West Virginia is certainly at a great loss, and with his passing there is no one to step into his shoes.

Bobby Taylor
Charleston, West Virginia

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