Personal Life and Career
One of three sons, Harold Simmons was born May 13, 1931 to rural Texas school teachers, Reuben Leon and Fairess Clark. At the age of 16, Harold and his family moved from Golden, Texas, to a community near Austin where he enrolled at The University of Texas and was a member of the Southwest Conference championship basketball team of 1951. He then earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees and was awarded a Phi Beta Kappa key.
Mr. Simmons’ first job was as an investigator for the U.S. Civil Service Commission, then as an Assistant Bank Examiner at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and an assistant loan officer at Republic National Bank. At age 29, Harold purchased a small drugstore near SMU in Dallas. He ultimately built a chain of 100 drugstores that he sold in 1973 for $50 million.
Mr. Simmons was founder, chairman and CEO of Contran Corporation, a holding company that over the years held interests in a variety of industries, including chemicals, titanium metals, steel, component products, hazardous and low level radioactive disposal, refined sugar, timber and forest products, fast food restaurants, oil and gas services, real estate and others.
Mr. Simmons is survived by his wife of 33 years, Annette Caldwell Simmons, his children Lisa Simmons and her son, Harrison Simmons Epstein, Serena Simmons Connelly and her husband Thomas and their daughters, Natalie and Nadia, Amy Simmons Crafton and her husband Joe Crafton, Andy Fleck and his wife Kammy and their children Austin Fleck and Adrienne Fleck. He is also survived by a brother Douglas and was preceded in death by his parents and brother Glenn.
"We need a school person..."
Harold Simmons and SMU
Hall of Fame
Philanthropy and Charitable Giving
Mr. Simmons was actively involved in philanthropy with his wife, Annette, and served on various honorary and executive boards including SMU’s Cox School of Business and Dedman College of Humanities and Science, The Parkland Foundation, The Kidney Foundation, UT Southwestern Medical School, The Crystal Charity Ball Advisory Board, the Dallas Heart Ball, the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas, The Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children Annual Treasure Street, The Human Rights Initiative of North Texas, and the Military Ball.
Mr. Simmons also received several local awards for his unwavering support and involvement with Dallas-based charities, which included the Dallas Historical Society Philanthropy Award for Excellence in Community Service, The Annette G. Strauss Humanitarian Award, the Champ Award by The Dallas County Medical Society Alliance, the Dallas Distinguished Community Service Award, and the United Way – Alexis De Tocqueville Society award.
Harold Simmons was a man of few words but giant actions. He once said, “Life has been good to me, and I want to be good to life.” This philosophy led to the establishment of The Harold Simmons Foundation in 1988, for which he served as chairman. The Foundation focuses on education, health care, social welfare, civic improvement, and the arts.
“Mayor Rawlings announces $50M donation for Trinity Park from estate of late billionaire Harold Simmons”– Dallas Morning News
“$22 Million in Grants Brings New Talent to North Texas Cancer Center”– Dallas Morning News
“Texas Governor Greg Abbot Fetes a Legendary Dallas Billionaire”– D Magazine