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Charles H. Simmons, funeral director, was active in politics


Jan. 16, 1932 - Nov. 1, 2016

Charles H. Simmons, a funeral director who also was active in Democratic Party politics, died Tuesday in Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital of complications from a stroke. He was 84.

Mr. Simmons was the owner and operator of Memorial Chapels of Buffalo from 1966 to 2009.

He was born in Columbia, S.C., and graduated from Booker T. Washington High School in Columbia and Morehouse College in Atlanta.

Mr. Simmons first came to Western New York as an intern for Birds Eye Frozen Foods, and also worked on the construction of the Niagara Power Project.

His family said he worked with longtime Erie County Democratic Chairman Joseph F. Crangle on the 1968 presidential campaign of Robert F. Kennedy. From 1970-72, he served as director of relocation for the City of Buffalo under Mayor Frank A. Sedita.

Mr. Simmons developed the Northern Region Black Political Caucus and was a member of Gov. Hugh L. Carey's executive chamber in the 1970s as special assistant on urban affairs. Mr. Simmons also was a member of the Urban League.

Survivors include his wife, the former Debra Daniels; his children, Dawn M., Blair C., and Robert S. Lowden; and one granddaughter.

A memorial service will be held at noon Nov. 11 in St. Philip's Episcopal Church, 15 Fernhill Ave.

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