A memorial was held for Oz Simmons, a former math teacher and volleyball coach here at Dana for over 35 years, on Thursday, Sept. 26. Mr. Simmons unfortunately passed away due to cancer earlier this September.
Mr. Simmons first began teaching math in 1982; he also doubled as the boys volleyball coach, leading the Dolphins to the 1985 CIF-SS Division 4-A title game and the 1986 Division 4-A championships. Additionally, ten of the teams he coached went to league championships.
Services began at 4:00 p.m. in the school gym, dinner was at 5:30 p.m. in the mall and there was a sunset paddle at 6:00 p.m.
Jake Schwartzberg, a current math teacher at Dana Hills, spent 17 years teaching alongside Mr. Simmons. Mr. Schwartzberg said of Oz, “a better man I never met. There may be better teachers, there may be better mathematicians…but [Mr. Simmons] was just a good man. He was honorable, showed good character, was a great husband…he was just a good man. That was the first thing that caused me to gravitate toward him.”
Matthew O’Conner, a member of the Dana boys volleyball team that was coached by Mr. Simmons, related, “he was one of the most kind and patient coaches I’ve ever had.”
Like Mr. Schwartzberg and Matthew, many who knew him recognized him as someone who was not only successful in his own life as a coach and a teacher, but also as someone who inspired others in life, a one-in-a-million kind of guy.
At the memorial, many individuals from different parts of Mr. Simmons’ life came to pay their respects, to speak about him and to celebrate his life.
Through listening to all these stories from the people who attended, the Dana Hills community has been able to gain a broader context of and celebrate Mr. Simmons’ life.
The thoughtful tribute began with four faculty members from Dana: the aforementioned Mr. Schwartzberg, former principal Dr. Allemann, volleyball coach Mr. Smith and former teacher Mr. Butler; all of whom shared funny stories and memories of Mr. Simmons from their experiences with him at Dana that served to remind everyone of his kind, humorous and unique personality.
Afterwards, former Ohio State athletes coached by Mr. Simmons and former USC teammates from his time in college spoke about him as both a coach and a teammate, sharing their memories of him in that stage of his life.
A beloved individual like Mr. Simmons leaves a void behind when he passes away; there is no one special enough who can replace him. As Mr. Schwartzberg summed it up, “he will be missed wildly by most of us.”
The staff of THE PAPER sends their thoughts and prayers to the Simmons family. His presence will forever be missed on campus.