In Memory of Jody Simms


Jody Simms eulogy

In memory of Jody Simms, born to West and the late Bessie Mae Weaver on September 23, 1954 in .,Detroit, Michigan. Jody was the fifth of eleven children. Five of her six brothers preceded her in death.

Jody grew up in Detroit where she attended public schools. As a young woman she had exceptional r:.':lree~ educational and community service aspirations and knew that California was the place to be. She moved to California in the early 1970's and quickly found her community service niche as a mentor and organizer of children's programs. She was "Pied Piper" to many an Oakland child. She was a teacher a friend, a confidant and watched them grow into adulthood. Her work with children and young adults continued throughout her life.

Soon after arriving to California, Jody accepted a position with American Telephone & Telegraph ("AT& T"). Her career with both Pacific Bell and AT& T spanned approximately 19 years. Here she found her career niche. Jody started as an operator, moved to various occupational positions and then on to management.

During her years at A T & T, she became known and respected for her work as a labor organizer and negotiator with the Communications Workers of America, Loca19415. As usual for Jody, she recognized there was a need for active union participation and became a shop steward. Shortly thereafter; she was appointed to Chief Shop Steward, then elected as Contractual Vice President, Convention Delegate, member of the Executive Board and was an Assistant to the President of Local 9415. Jody was the primary representative of the Local's Hawaii unit, Chairperson of the Education Committee, a member of the Equity Committee, the Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW), A. Philip Randolph Institute, and Alliance for Employee Growth and Development, Inc. ("Alliance, just to name a few. While Chair of the Alliance, she was instrumental in getting the Alliance to sponsor on-site higher educational programs for employees. The educational programs created during her tenure as Chair were ground breaking. Never before had non-management employees had the opportunity for personal development through expansive curricula. As an A T & T employee, she was active in the A T & T Black Alliance and selected to quality of work life teams. Jody also completed her Baccalaureate of Science Degree from the University of San Francisco in Management of Information Systems and received her Paralegal Certificate from Saint Mary's College of California.

In 1999, Jody was promoted to and known as an exceptional manager who was on the fast track. As an manager, Jody was responsible for the Expedite Group in Pleasanton. Jody accepted the responsibility with grace and was instrumental in creating and streamlining procedures, which produced greater customer and employee satisfaction. Jody was revered for her selflessness and known as a champion of people's rights.

Jody was genuine. She was an intelligent woman of principle, sometimes seeming unapproachable, but really having a heart of gold filled with compassion for others. She was fair minded, fighting for causes, and defending those incapable of defending themselves, always willing to give the benefit of doubt. She had a zest for life and was surrounded by a rainbow of friends whom she often shared special secrets and laughter. Jody also joined Saint Peter's Episcopal Church in Oakland where she was baptized and confirmed. She will be missed.