Mrs. Jacqueline Ross Simonds
  • You can carry on the legacy of NACE/CEE's work by donating to Issues in Education.
  • Issues in Education
    P.O. Box 12555
    Prescott, AZ 86304

Share This Obituary

Memories & Candles

“Years ago, Jacki and I spent a lot of time on the phone and writing back and forth about a branch of the family history research. She used...Read More »
1 of 5 | Posted by: Ruth Ryan - Spokane, WA

“A beautiful life, well lived. So sorry for your loss. ”
2 of 5 | Posted by: Trish Beauchamp - Visalia, CA

“So sorry for your loss Kathi. What a beautiful and inspiring life she led! ”
3 of 5 | Posted by: Susie Hatcher - Visalia, CA

“Jackie was a wonderful person inside and out. She influenced me daily with her Faith and her selflessness. So thankful knowing she is in heaven with...Read More »
4 of 5 | Posted by: Shirley Taylor - Murrieta, CA

“I love you Momma. No words can adequately capture your essence or the depth and breadth of your life but I have tried. I miss kissing your soft...Read More »
5 of 5 | Posted by: Kathi Hudson - Hanford, CA

Jacqueline Ross was born in Des Moines, Iowa, before moving to Alhambra, California, at the age of 2 with her father Donald Cameron Ross, her mother Evelyn Louise (Blodgett) Ross, and her grandmother Louise (Florke) Blodgett. Jacki, her parents and her brother Donald Cameron Ross II, moved to Whittier when she was 8 years old. An avid lifelong learner, she loved school and graduated from Whittier High School where she was active in drill team, performing and social clubs. She greatly enjoyed serving as an officer in the Phi Alpha Omega sorority in 1955 and 1956 at Fullerton Community College and made many happy memories there. Her beloved father passed away suddenly in 1957. She transferred to California State University Long Beach where she graduated with her teaching credentials.

She began her teaching career with 2nd grade at Studebaker Elementary School in Whittier from 1958-60. Just two months after their first date, she married Robert Lee Simonds on June 18, 1960, at the Whittier Wesleyan Methodist Church. They met while both teaching Sunday School there. She also became a mother to his 11-year-old son Cary.

After marrying, Miss Ross became Mrs. Simonds. She taught at Greenwood Elementary School in Montebello from 1960 to 1963 while in the first house they bought, in Pico Rivera. In 1964, Bob and Jacki moved to Costa Mesa, California, where he'd begun teaching at Orange Coast Community College (OCC). They bought a brand-new home in which they lived and raised a family. Jacki gave birth to a daughter Katherine Lee in 1966, then went on to have a son Cameron Ross in 1971 and daughter Amanda Joy in 1978.

For many years they were heavily involved at El Modena Friends Church before finding a church closer to home in about 1975 at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa. In addition to her church friends, Jacki made many friends through the OCC Faculty Wives club—enjoying bowling leagues, tennis games and many luncheons. Jacki and Bob were close to their extended families, traveling, waterskiing, laughing and eating. A sign in their kitchen said, "There are no strangers here—only friends we haven't met." That summed up the friendly hospitality of the couple, who welcomed various extended family, friends and co-workers into their home, even for stays of weeks or months at a time. All of Jacki's kids' friends appreciated her quiet way of making everyone who came her way feel welcome and loved.

Some of the family's best times were the summers and holidays spent at the cabin in Lake Tahoe, where Jacki would "hold down the fort" while everyone skied or played. She would welcome home family and friends with delicious dinners and huge card games of "Nertz," creating many treasured memories. She was perfectly happy to be home alone doing needle crafts, painting plaster, watching or listening to a baseball game or reading a book (often multi-tasking more than one at a time). She was very creative and also wrote some poetry. Especially before she started working full-time, the home was always immaculately clean and smelled of Pledge. Jacki enjoyed decorating, listening to music, and making their home welcoming. Her husband Bob called her "A Five-Star Mother"! She was also a patient and loving wife, taking care of Bob's every need.

Her travels covered most of the United States and included two trips to Great Britain. The first she greatly enjoyed sharing with her mother Evelyn, who would succumb to Alzheimer's herself in 2000. Although many others were along on the trip, it was a special time of closeness with her own mom, and the two of them shared a love of family history. After Evelyn's death, Jacki carried on her work and produced a wonderful family genealogy. Her second trip, to England and to Paris, France, was a chance to spend 3 weeks alone with daughter Kathi not long before she married—a very fun adventure.

Jacki truly loved to read and owned thousands of books. She also loved to teach. Even after leaving her education career, she spent all her life teaching someone, whether her kids, grandkids (making them print very precisely), Sunday School or through volunteer positions. For example, in the gifted student enrichment program at her children's elementary school, she taught students to knit, and taught a unit on shells and sea life with her amazing collection. Every year she gave class presentations on Alaska and Eskimos using items obtained while living there briefly in 1969 while her husband was on a teaching sabbatical project.

In 1983, Bob and Jacki founded the National Association of Christian Educators and Citizens for Excellence in Education, a public education reform ministry serving Christian parents and teachers. For the first time in decades, Jacki began working again (at all hours!). She served as Chief Financial Officer as well as serving the organization's members and smoothing staff relationships. On Friday mornings, she took all the women on staff to Calvary Chapel's women's Bible study. As head of NACE/CEE, Bob traveled around the country speaking every other week for a week at a time for many years, so Jacki took on the full task of running their home and ministry when he was gone. It wasn't easy but she believed in their calling and she always supported Bob in all his endeavors. Fortunately, she was brilliant, capable and independent so the system worked. In fact, Bob called her the "anchor" of the ministry.

In addition to working, Jacki was involved on a daily basis in the lives of her Oliver grandchildren, who lived nearby. In 2003, Jacki and Bob bought a cabin in Big Bear with Kathi's family, where they could relax and feel semi-retired and sometimes meet up with their Hudson grandkids for family fun and relaxation…especially enjoying watching firework shows above the lake while out on their boat.

Though they traveled to Spokane to see their Simonds grandkids as often as they could, they missed that side of the family and eventually retired to Spokane, Washington, in early 2011. Cary, Ross and Mandi's families got