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.