Cayman businessman Mike Simmons dies

During a Heroes Day ceremony in 2013, Mike Simmons, center, receives an award for his adopted mother Sybil Joyce Hylton from then-Governor Duncan Taylor, left, and then-Premier McKeeva Bush.

Businessman Daniel ‘Mike’ Simmons, who was also one of the founding shareholders of Cayman National Bank, passed away on Monday at the age of 81.

Mr. Simmons was among the pioneers of the infrastructure development of the Cayman Islands in the 1960s. He went on to open a number of businesses and restaurants on Grand Cayman.

Mr. Simmons was a charter member of the Lions Club of Grand Cayman.

Originally from Turks and Caicos, Mr. Simmons moved to the Bahamas and then to Cayman in 1956.

Sybil Joyce Hylton, one of Cayman’s first social workers, was his locally adopted mother.

One of Mr. Simmons’s good friends, Alfonso Wright, said many of the projects the Lions Club got involved with to help people in need were through her [Ms. Hylton’s] connection with Mr. Simmons.

“As a boy growing up, I always knew who Mike Simmons was … it was a rather popular name around the place,” he said.

He said Mr. Simmons came into his life when Mr. Wright became a charter member of the Leos Club of Grand Cayman around 1974. Right away, Mr. Simmons became someone he looked up to, he said. From day one, he became one of his mentors and in spite of the age difference, they became close friends.

“We confided in each other and I saw a humanitarian individual who would do anything to help people in the community … someone who took pride in helping people but insisted he get no credit for it.

“He had a lot of respect for people’s privacy … he was a good man and will be greatly missed,” he said.

A letter from the Lions Club of Grand Cayman to its members Tuesday notifying them of Mr. Simmons’s death said, “Mike was a charter member, an amazing Lion, a most generous humanitarian, an electrifying personality, a pioneer, a business leader, true friend, mentor, father figure and inspiration to many.

“Mike was respected, deeply loved and admired and he will be truly missed.”

Mr. Simmons is survived by eight children, Italia Simmons-Fox, Kim Simmons, Meggan Simmons, Sandra Simmons-Francis, Eryka Simmons, Kenya Simmons, Paul Simmons and Ann Christian; grandchildren Mike and Jessica Fox, Chris and Melody Christian; and 10 great-grandchildren.

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