Alva Mae Simmons was born in Magnolia, Mississippi on August 17, 1928 to Ely Jerry (EJ) and Irecia Taylor Simmons. She attended school at Mogel Elementary and Rose Hill High School in Magnolia. She accepted Christ at an early age at Shady Grove Missionary Baptist Church in Osyka, Mississippi. There she served as a church secretary, usher and soloist.
In March of 1951, she married her childhood sweetheart, Leslie Henry Hurst, in Walthall County, Miss. Shortly thereafter they relocated to Portland, Oregon and had one child, Janet Perchell.
She continued her education and received a License Practical Nursing (LPN) degree and began working at St. Vincent’s Hospital in March of 1954. She retired from St. Vincent’s Hospital after 28 years of service.
Alva became a member of Mt. Olivet Baptist Church under the leadership of the late Reverend J.J. Clow and served there until God called her home. She sang in the Mt. Olivet choir and served in the Fellowship Circle, Older Adults Still in Service (OASIS), Life Group and was a church nurse. Other organizations include Fleur De Lis Club (secretary), Federation of Women and National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
Alva’s hobbies included sewing, quilting, attending tea parties, baking cakes, pies and tea cakes, traveling and she loved to socialize with family and friends. Her smile could brighten a room; it was extremely contagious. She had a flair for fashion. Her choice of hats, clothes and shoes were the epidemy of being a virtuous Proverbs 31 woman.
Alva is survived by her daughter, Janet and granddaughter, Alysha Hurst, Houston, Texas; sister, Alma Banks, Houma, Louisiana; sister, Rosie Pendleton, Portland; brother-in-law, James Winfield, Amite, Louisiana and a host of nieces, nephews and friends. She is preceded in death by her husband, Leslie H.; parents, EJ and Irecia Simmons; brothers, Willie John and Curtis Simmons; sisters, Willie Mae Simmons Martin; Violettie Simmons Pittman; Delia Mae Simmons Pittman and Flora Lee Simmons Lewis.