Larry Simms
Plant a Tree
Plant a Tree

Memorial Service

2:00 pm
Friday, February 7, 2020
Immanuel Presbyterian Church
1125 Savile Lane
McLean, Virginia, United States

Obituary of Larry Lee Simms

Larry Lee Simms, age 75, of Great Falls, Virginia, passed away on January 11, 2020, at home with family after a long illness.

Larry was preceded in death by his parents Charles and Lois Simms, sister Yolande Seagle, and half-sister Patricia Schneider. He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Dr. Elisabeth Simms, son Nathaniel Simms of Great Falls, daughter Dr. Anna Simms and her husband Jeffrey Monahan of Floyd, Virginia, and cats Sam and Lilly. He is also survived by his twin brother Richard and sister-in-law Lori Simms of Cleveland, Ohio, brother-in-law and sister-in-law Howard and Carol Borgstrom of Alexandria, Virginia, and many beloved nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews, cousins and other extended family.

Larry was born in Dalton, Georgia, and grew up in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where he made close friendships that have lasted a lifetime. He graduated from Dartmouth College and served four years in the U.S. Navy as a communications officer. He attended law school at Boston University where he was editor-in-chief of the Law Review and had the honor of clerking for Judge James Oakes, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, and Justice Byron White, U.S. Supreme Court. His legal career continued at the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, the Justice Department, Office of Legal Counsel, then the firm of Gibson, Dunn, and Crutcher. He also served as adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center teaching on the First Amendment.

Larry lived a rich life, traveling widely. A trip to China in 1993 inspired him to found the Washington Beijing Scholastic Exchange. Several students who came to the United States through that program are part of his extended family today. Closer to home, he lovingly renovated an historic 19th-century log cabin where the family has lived since 1976. In retirement he built a second home on Chappaquiddick, sharing the tranquility of the Massachusetts coast with friends and family. He loved music, from the Beatles to the Seldom Scene, and enjoyed many live shows, from Bob Dylan in 1965 at the Newport Folk Festival to Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard together fifty years later. Larry had dual citizenship as a fan of the Baltimore Orioles and Boston Red Sox and loved soccer and horse racing. He traveled to several World Cup soccer matches in the U.S. and Europe and took in the Kentucky Derby and Breeders' Cup at Churchill Downs as well as big race days at Santa Anita, Keeneland, and Belmont Park.

Larry was a mentor to many young lawyers and endlessly supportive of his friends and family. His working years were characterized by brilliance, integrity, and drive -- his last years demonstrated grace and acceptance as he dealt with progressive neurologic decline.

His family is grateful for the host of wonderful caregivers who helped Larry in his last years.  A memorial service is scheduled for Friday, February 7, at 2 pm at Immanuel Presbyterian Church, 1125 Savile Lane, McLean, VA 22101

Memorial contributions may be made to the Chinese Exchange Program, Development Office, Landon School, 6101 Wilson Ln., Bethesda, MD 20817.

Share Your Memory of