Woody Simmons

woody simmons

November 13, 1951 ~ April 18, 2023

Born in: Chautauqua, New York
Resided in: Decatur, Georgia

With heavy hearts and great sadness, we announce the passing of William Howard Simmons, affectionately known as “Woody,” a beloved husband, father, grandfather, and friend. Woody passed away peacefully on Tuesday, April 18th, 2023 at the age of 71.

Woody was born on November 13th, 1951 in Chautauqua, New York to the late Richard and Cynthia Simmons. He moved to Atlanta with his brother, Bear, in the early 70s where they began working in construction and played in a band together. Woody eventually became a specialized woodworker, owning his own business “Woody’s Woodworking” and building cabinetry.

Woody had a life-long passion for music, woodworking, reading, and spending time with his family and church community. Woody hand-built musical instruments, intricate crosses, custom chests, and jewelry boxes. He was currently finishing a canoe with his daughter, Alashia. Woody had a sharp wit, was quick to laugh, and loved to share jokes.

Woody is survived by his loving wife of twenty-four years, Debbie VanSistine, his daughter Alashia Cody, step-daughter Alisha VanSistine-Boss, stepson Matt VanSistine, granddaughter Lilly Cody, two nephews William “Will” Simmons and Jason “Jake” Jones, niece Jessica Main, and two rascal puppies, Bandit and Bogey.

A service will be held on April 29th at 2:30 pm at Avondale First Baptist Church/Gospel Hope (47 Covington Rd, Avondale Estates, GA 30002) to honor and celebrate Woody’s life. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Emory’s Center for Palliative Care in his memory.

Woody will be deeply missed by all those who knew him. His gentle nature, laughter, and loyalty will be cherished memories and a source of comfort to all that love him. May his soul rest in eternal peace.


Celebration of Life: April 29, 2023 2:30 pm - 3:30 pm

Avondale First Baptist Church
47 Covington Road
Avondale Estates, Ga

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Memories Timeline


  1. My deepest condolences to Debbie and family and Alashia and Lilly. I know Woody will be greatly missed. Praying for you all.

    • CandleImageWoody was a very talented musician , writer bd singer and Banjo player. I grew up with Woody Bear and Larry straight.we were inseparable friends and musicians. Woody was creative and I had the chance a few years back to speak with him and his new hobby! He will always be a friend and loved. Russ Muscato

      • I remember mom letting Russ, Larry, Woody and Bear play their instruments in the basement. We were all neighbors and she would just cater to them like they were family. Actually they were family!!

  2. I am so very sorry and shocked to hear of Woody’s passing. He was a CVCS classmate and friend. Sending sincere condolences and prayers for the family.

  3. CandleImageMay your memories comfort you and be a source of light at this difficult time. Peace be with you all!

  4. CandleImageWoody was my Wednesday morning breakfast companion for several years, the booming bass voice in our singing group, and a constant presence as teacher and friend. He was always quick with a smile and a word of wisdom. We will miss him.

  5. CandleImageWoody was one of my oldest friends. I met him when Bear was 11 and he was 9. He was my neighbor in Cassadaga. We grew up together. We played music together. We moved to Atlanta together. He stayed, I left and we didn’t have much contact but Peggy and I stopped once to visit him and reminisce old times. He will always be a dear friend.

  6. CandleImageI will miss my friend Woody Simmons. He was so talented and enjoyed life and laughter. We had the occasion to make music together and I am fortunate to own one of the hand-made wooden crosses that he crafted with his own hands. As a student of the Bible, he was a gifted teacher, Deacon, and churchman for many years at FBC Avondale Estates. We know that he’s in the presence of his Savior and singing the songs of glory!

  7. I remember Woody walking through Little Five Points,Skinny as a rail smoking a cigarette
    playing his banjo
    I was his best man at his marriage to Debbie
    We made many beautiful things together
    He was an amazing man and will be missed

  8. CandleImageWoody was always in good humor
    I’ll miss Having Thanksgiving dinners with him . I know he was a great husband and companion for Debbie . Prayers to everyone who know him what a terrible loss .

  9. Woody was such a great person! He brought a joyfulness, laughter and great knowledge to everyone at our shop and office. He will be extremely missed around here! Our prayers and thoughts are with you and your family.

  10. I just got to know Woody the past couple years but i found him to be a super nice guy. We were recently planning a woodworking project together…he will be missed.

  11. CandleImageOur deepest condolences on his passing — Praying peace and love over you all! I know he will be missed but obviously left a loving legacy with many cherished memories for his loved ones!

  12. CandleImageMy heart goes out to all Debbie, Alashia, and Lilly and all ofWoody’s family and friends. Carl and I have known Woody for a long time and we know he will be missed.

  13. CandleImageSending our continued love and prayers to Debbie, Alashia, Lilly, family and friends. We are deeply saddened by your loss. Thankful for his life and many positive impacts on relationships with others. God blessed him with many gifts.

    With Love,
    Gary and Diana Damron

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