Ollie (McGraw) Dyer Simmons, the sixth of nineteen children, was born in Centerville, Mississippi to the late Superintendent Andrew James McGraw and Fannie McGraw. She was a widow for several years. While she never had any children of her own, she helped her siblings with theirs. During her years of employment, she worked as a Laundry Consult pressing shirts; a Resident Specialist at a group home; and a Baker at Big Y Grocery Store. She attended Cosmetology School while in California, but never received her license. However, she did hair in her home, and mastered the press and curl, a very popular technique for styling natural hair, back in the day.
She served as the Church Mother of Victory Temple COGIC for 29 years. Her favorite saying was "Victory Must Go, and I must Make It Go". Mother Simmons was always willing to help people in need. Several times, she opened the doors of her home and took in people who had fallen on hard times. In her younger years, she enjoyed traveling, cooking, and shopping. In her twilight years she enjoyed watching her favorite game shows: Family Feud, Wheel of Fortune, Cash Cab & America Says. Watching baseball was also a favorite pastime. In1954, Mother Ollie moved to California but, was felt led to return to Springfield, MA in 1957
She was preceded in death by her late husband James L. Simmons; parents, Andrew James McGraw and Fannie McGraw, thirteen siblings; Vernice Bolden, Dovia Ma Coleman, Millie Salean Tyson, Andrew James McGraw, Jr., Irma Lee Kober, Lieutenant McGraw, William Lawrence McGraw, Ownes Vernon McGraw, Nancy McGraw, Lloyd Leotis McGraw, Virginia McGraw, Lenorman McGraw, and Audrey Wilson. She leaves rejoicing in the memories of her life; four sisters, Mayola Franklin of New Orleans, LA, Fanneree Baymon (William), Natha Burton (Sammy) both of Springfield, MA, Patricia Burton (Andrew) of Peabody, MA, and one brother Elvin McGraw of Los Angeles, CA. Also left to cherish her memory is one Goddaughter, Pastor Tanya Ward (Wade), one Godson Darro, Brown (Kim), a host of nieces and nephews, and the Victorians, her Victory Temple Church Family.
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