Geneva County native killed at Pearl Harbor returns to Wiregrass after more than 80 years

GENEVA COUNTY, Ala. (WDHN) – A native Wiregrass son is back home after more than eight decades since his death.

Among the remains that were recently exhumed in Hawaii from the USS California that sank in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was a man from Geneva County.

Tceollyar Simmons’ funeral procession marched down Main Street to Samson. Known to family and friends simply as “T”, he was aboard the USS California on December 7, 1941, when he and 103 other crew members were killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour.

Recently, the human remains of the crew were exhumed from a naval cemetery in Hawaii. Just 18 when he was killed, DNA testing determined the remains found were those of Able Seaman Simmons.

“Where Mr. Simmons will be finally laid to rest on June 14, 2022 in Hacoda, Alabama, and will be remembered for his service to this country and his ultimate sacrifice,” said Blue Star Veteran organization member Tom Long.

On Tuesday, he finally found his resting place for eternity. For T’s family, it would be a very special day. If he were alive today, T would be 99 years old.

“And it’s just wonderful that we never thought we’d see the day in our lives when he would be identified and brought home, we’re so grateful,” T’s cousin Lisa Blan-Hoye said.

He is now buried next to his mother and father at Corner Creek Cemetery in the small community of Hacoda.


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