Autumn Funerals and Cremation Autumn Funerals and Cremation

Obituaries & Tributes

Mary Josephine Simmons

date of birth September 5 1942

date of death November 24 2020

Mary Josephine Simmons

Mary (Jo) Cotter

September 5th, 1942 – November 24th, 2020

Mary Jo was born in Peoria, Illinois to Helen Margaret Miller - Cotter and Cecil Forest Cotter. She had two siblings: Colleen and Steve. They are now all together. She is survived by her four children: Tina, Selina, Anthony and Christine, her grandchildren: Amanda, Maxx, Jerry, Ivan, Dante, Paul, Rachel, Mario, Caleb, Joy, and her great grandchildren: Owain, Elin, Abigail and namesake, Mary Jo. She also had numerous nieces and nephews: Angela, Dawn, Gloria, Tracy, Chris, Jennifer, Jeremy, Eileen and Tim.

When Mary Jo was young, her Mom and Dad moved the family to the San Diego county area. There she went to Catholic school until she was in H.S. where she graduated from El Cajon Valley High.

She was married and divorced to: Paul G. Arbassio and Horace Orion Simmons III respectively. Horace adopted her 4 children and they raised them in Kodiak.

She had the gift of gab, was brilliant, fun and organized. She worked at many jobs from being the Weather Lady and news anchor (Today’s Day with Mary Jo) for Kodiak, Alaska. She worked at the Borough of Kodiak and the Legislature for the State of Alaska. She pioneered an example for other Legislative offices and worked at that job for many years. She was a pillar of the community of Kodiak and throughout Alaska. Mary Jo was really great at making friends and helping others in her community. She also produced programming, had articles in the Kodiak Times and Kodiak Daily Mirror, and recorded historical moments in the community of Kodiak, AK. She even did programming documenting/archiving the 1964 Earthquake and Tsunami as well as the Community’s Cry of the Wild Ram production. I know there’s more but my memory escapes me.

When her children grew up and moved elsewhere, Horace and Mary Jo moved around to places like Livermore, Redondo Beach and then to Oregon where she lived from Central, Coastal and Portland Metro areas.

Mary Jo worked in property management and another business type job where she oversaw and worked with others in the housing business. She was organized, personable and could manage many people and departments. She made numerous friends and many of them remained loyal companions. She was definitely loved.

Mary Jo was diagnosed with lung cancer almost 4 years before her passing. She went through years of treatment: lobectomy, radiation, chemotherapy and immunotherapy. On her third discovery of cancer (now at stage 4), she moved in with her daughter, Tina and her husband, Chael and their son, Dante.

She lived there for over a year from 2019 to 2020.She went through her final treatments of radiation, chemo and immunotherapy until the treatments were becoming more difficult to recover from leaving her even more debilitated. In the month of May, she decided to stop all treatments. She had a few good months of feeling well enough to go to the beach, out for a drive, and taking in the changing Oregon seasons. When she had her final CT scans, bloodwork and MRI, they discovered more cancer. She chose to enter Hospice. She received the best treatment anyone could ever ask for. Compass Oncology suggested her Hospice. She went with Care Partners. They were so amazing. Compass too. She died peacefully. All her children held vigil for her. She was able to see all of her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren before she passed which was an amazing feet given the pandemic. However, everyone got to see her without anyone becoming ill from it.

She even had Zoom, phone calls and Facetime visits. A couple of her friends came to see her too. I think she was grateful this all went as well as it could during these times. Oh, and she got to vote! I even recorded that.

My Mom will be missed by so many people. I know she had a party awaiting her arrival. I even got a sign from her when watering my orchids. A lid came off a container she had made for me. It said, “I love you Tina…because…Mom.” Mom did those special things for everyone.

We aren’t holding a Memorial until this pandemic is under control. We want everyone to be safe. Currently we’re on another lockdown.

In lieu of flowers, please extend gifts to your community. I will be sending out invites for a celebration of life when we’re out of the pandemic woods. On behalf of me and my siblings we’d like to extend our heartfelt thanks for being part of our Mother’s life.

With warm regards,

Tina Emmett

14270 SW Fanno Creek Loop

Tigard, Oregon97224

12 tribute candles have been lit

Candle lit by Gloria You were always the cool Aunt we admired and looked up to. Your smile and positive nature was contagious and rubbed off on us all. I smile when I think of you. Love you so much. Say hi to Mom for me.

Candle lit by Staff at Autumn Funerals, Cremation & Burial Our sincere condolences.

Candle lit by Selina God Speed, Mom. We All have another Blessed Angel. Love & Miss You Always ❤️

Candle lit by Selina

Candle lit by Selina

Candle lit by Lori Simmons You were an amazing woman, Mary Jo. Thanks for being a loving and supportive mom to my Anthony.

Candle lit by Lori Simmons You were an amazing woman, Mary Jo. Thanks for being a loving and supportive mom to my Anthony.

Candle lit by Lori Simmons You were an amazing woman, Mary Jo. Thanks for being a loving and supportive mom to my Anthony.

Candle lit by Lori Simmons You were an amazing woman, Mary Jo. Thanks for being a loving and supportive mom to my Anthony.

Candle lit by Tracy I think of you and mom often. You’ve always been a light unto the darkness and my life has been all the better and blessed by having you in it. You are always in my heart! Give hugs to all the wonderful angels with you!

Candle lit by Tracy Simmons I think of you and mom often. You have always been a light unto the darkness and my life has been so much brighter and blessed because you were a part of it. Give all the angels with you hugs from me. XOXOXO

Candle lit by Ruth Anne Simmons Norris Mary Jo and her four delightful children were a wonderful addition to my life. I was lucky enough to have a phone conversation with her during the last couple of weeks of her life. She lives on in my heart.