Nicole Simms
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Nicole Simms

Saturday, May 23rd, 1964 - Monday, October 12th, 2020

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On Monday, October 12th, at St Peter's Hospice Inn, the love of my life, Nicole Liros Simms, shed a body severely limited by ALS/Lou Gehrig's Disease. That afternoon, free of her failing physical form, she ran, and skipped, and danced her way into the loving presence of Jesus – someone who knew more than a little about suffering.

I (Jonathan Simms) first met the beautiful Nicole Liros at a small Cafe in Vienna Austria, around this time of the year in 1984. After spending a romantic year studying together in Vienna and exploring Europe, we were engaged in the summer of 1985. We suffered significant separation anxiety while I finished my last semester of school in Denver and then worked in Connecticut while Nicole finished school in Boston. We were married on the splendid coast of Maine in the summer of 1986.

But it all started in the summer of 1964, in Munich Germany, when Serge Liros and Merrill Pritham ushered little Nicole into this world. Nicole went on to graduate from T.C. Williams high School in Alexandria Virginia, earn a bachelor's degree from Tufts University, and her master's degree in Education from University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Nicole seemed born to be a teacher, starting early by practicing on her three beloved younger sisters, Christina Akliros Pritham (Joseph Richards), of Greenville, ME, Alexandra Liros of Southwest Harbor ME, and Sarah Vega-Liros (Janice Vega-Liros), of Erving, MA. Nicole was a warm, loving, creative and adventurous mother to her adventure-seeking son Dylan (Laura Weiskotten) and her wise and fun-loving daughter Hannah (Jesse Deisinger). Dylan and Laura brought Nicole tremendous joy these last six weeks with the birth of our first sweeter-than-sweet granddaughter, Dahlia Nicole Simms in late August. And so, Nicole was "in love!". Hannah gave her mom great pleasure by including Nicole intimately in the planning of her and Jesse's wedding, which Nicole would have given anything to attend next summer.

Nicole spent about 30 years pursuing her passion as a beloved teacher of elementary students in Farmington, CT, Somers, CT, The Brown School in Schenectady, NY and elsewhere. She also spent time working on early literacy for The United Way and Head Start.

Nicole's sense of adventure was boundless. From countless runs, hikes, paddles and smooth turns on the slopes, to many day trips and camping trips with the kids, and family trips to her beloved Maine, as well as more exotic excursions to places like Hawaii, California and numerous European countries, including a return trip to Vienna with our kids in 2004... she loved to explore. This carried on into her six-year journey with ALS, and even though completely incapacitated for four of those years, and able to move only a few fingers, she didn't let a little thing like ALS slow her down. She just kept going. To the very end, she could smile with her mouth and eyes almost like the day I met her. She typed with her eyes on a special eye-tracking computer, having deep conversations with dear friends and family, or just giving me a little grief, or sharing her keen wit. She kept in good contact with friends and family from afar, by texting using those beautiful eyes.

But the most amazing thing was that she went for a wheelchair-walk almost every day, right up to late Sunday afternoon, the 11th. We'd get her in her wheelchair each afternoon, bundle her up for 30° days, take her to "shady trails" on 90° days, or go to museums, malls, or just for a ride when the weather was just plain too miserable for the indomitable Nicole Simms. She was very fortunate, and truly happy to live as full a life as she did with the physical challenges she endured. That being the case, she was always 100% the same old, sharp as a tack, Nicole on the inside.

Nicole had a solid, deep and genuine faith in Jesus and God that was manifest in a special wisdom and compassion for people on the margins (those less fortunate, those suffering injustice), and a knack for putting others before herself.

Nicole and I want to extend special thanks and deep appreciation to several dear friends who provided above-and-beyond help at crucial times during Nicole's ALS adventure: Her nurse-become-friend, Amy Van Evera, Kathleen Steinchen, Bob Goff, Fran Berger, Laura Fedor, Betsy Henry, Denise Hoffman and, last but not least, her dear sister-in-law, Shelley Simms. Also, Nicole truly loved Dr. Miller, Karen, Trish and all the folks at the St. Peter's ALS Regional Center.

These final four or five years were wildly challenging for us, but there was tremendous beauty in it as well. We were in love, and treasured every extra day...every additional conversation. We were happy that our motto had consistently been... "to always try to live like we were retired, because you never know."

Nicole was truly someone special, dearly loved by many. We miss her beyond measure.

Please understand all services for Nicole will be held private at the convenience of our family, due to covid-times. She would have loved nothing more than to have everyone there "celebrating her life and mourning her loss", and per her request, dancing on the way out.

A private livestream of Nicole's service will occur Saturday, 10/17 at 3:00 pm EST. Please contact an
immediate family member to receive an invitation.

Interment will be in Park View Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to the St. Peter’s ALS Regional Center, 19 Warehouse Road, Albany, NY 12205

Service Details

Services will be private at the convenience of the family. The family requests no flowers be ordered online or thru a florist at this time, thank you for your understanding.

Condolences & Tributes

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Erin Macbeth sent flowers to the family of Nicole Liros Simms.
Hand delivered by a local florist
Erin Macbeth sent flowers to the family of Nicole Liros Simms.
Hand delivered by a local florist

Andrew Pritham

I have many wonderful memories of Nicole and one in particular was digging clams on the coast with her when she was a teenager. What a brave soul she proved to be. Our hearts go out to the Simm's family for their loss. ✝️

Andrew and Sharon Pritham
Comment | Posted at 04:31pm via Condolence

Jonathan A Simms

Thank you Andy and Sharon! So kind of you to post this memory of Nicole here. It means a lot to me. Love...Jon
Posted at 08:52pm

Sarah Vega-Liros

It was terribly hard to say goodbye to my big sister. I will miss her forever.
Comment | Posted at 06:21pm via Condolence

Jonathan A Simms

Thank you Sarah! Nicole loved her three "little sisters" more than pretty much anything in the world. Keep an eye out for her to be checking in on you all somehow, sometime. :-}
Posted at 08:55pm

Laura Murray

A beautiful tribute to a remarkable woman. "All [whom] we love deeply becomes a part of us." (Helen Keller)
Heartfelt sympathy to her family and all who knew Nicole.
Laura (friend of Judy, Nicole's sister-in-law)
Comment | Posted at 05:22pm via Condolence

Jonathan A Simms

Thank you Laura! Especially love the Helen Keller quote. Kind of you to comment here...Jon
Posted at 08:56pm

Ed Marcy

I send my deepest condolences to you and your family. I know the journey you have been on all too well. I pray for Nicole, you and your entire family. Please reach out if you ever need need to talk. You are in my thoughts and prayers.
Ed Marcy
Comment | Posted at 10:18am via Condolence

Jonathan A Simms

Thanks Ed, dear old fiend from the 'hood'. You know loss on several counts, a beloved brother gone far too early, and like me, a loved one with ALS. Appreciate you taking the time to send condolences here.
Posted at 08:59pm

Kathleen Steinchen

Jon, Hannah, Dylan and families,
The Lord reached out His Hand to Nicole and embraced her and set her loose in His Kingdom. I believe that is where she is frolicking and having the adventures of her soul; until she meets with you again.
I hope the promise of heaven gives you comfort and eases the longing that absence generates.
I will always remember Nicole as the consummate backyard neighbor. We had many conversations across the fence on teaching, literacy, family and faith. Nicole taught me many things just by the way she was; especially to always smile. I grew to love Nicole and that love like faith will fill the hole she left. Prayers will continue to bind us together. Our love and prayers to you.
Kathleen & Klaus Steinchen
Comment | Posted at 10:16am via Condolence

Jonathan A Simms

Dear Kathleen and Klaus, thanks for such a sweet, sweet tribute to Nicole. How I long for the old days of your kids (and Klaus) popping through the secret door in the stockade fence Klaus made out back. You still can't really tell it's there today. We miss you guys. Schenectady rocks, Rochester...well doesn't rock, but grandbaby is there and I certainly get that. Love ya...Jon
Posted at 09:04pm

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