We lost a great sumpdiver, and caver

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Postby MoonshineR DavE » Feb 22, 2007 7:39 pm


You may be able to find out about the Simmons Mingo/My Cave from Bill Storage. He and Doug Medville wrote a paper on the caves in the Elk River Valley and it mentions the connection but I don't think any names were mentioned. http://www.bstorage.comis the website and you can contact him through there if you don't already have his email. Hope this helps.
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Postby MoonshineR DavE » Feb 22, 2007 7:47 pm

O.K. George

Ron is mentioned in the paper as one of many people that helped survey and push the caves listed but it doesn't say if he was one of the divers.
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Postby adleedy » Feb 22, 2007 8:35 pm

So is Ron Simmons the one who actually dove, and connected my cave and simmons mingo. Ive always wondered who did this and would love to read an account on the dive.
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Postby driggs » Feb 22, 2007 11:57 pm

George Dasher wrote:And was Ron the person who made the Simmons-Mingo-My Cave connection. My memory says yes.

According to Doug Medville's entry for My Cave in the 2000 NSS Guidebook,

In February 1978, Barney Burdiss and other divers succeeded in connecting the upstream end of My Cave to the lower end of Simmons-Mingo, thus creating one large cave with about seven miles of mapped passage.

Bill Storage and John Ganter's entry for Simmons-Mingo from the same book states:

The underground Dry Branch, called Canadian River in this section, can be followed upstream for 700 feet to a sump. ... The upstream sump has been dove for 800 feet to terminal breakdown by Ron Simmons.

In the Randolph County Bulletin (WVaSS #13), 1995, Medville writes about Simmons-Mingo:

Dry Branch can be followed upstream for 500 feet to a sump. This sump was dived by Ron Simmons in 1985 to a depth of about 45 feet and continued downward.

Unless he was "other divers", it looks like Ron Simmons dove the Simmons-Mingo upstream Dry Branch sump, but not the Simmons-Mingo / My Cave connection sump. Of course, aside from the slight discrepancy in the numbers above, Medville lists the connection dive in 1979, while Storage/Ganter writes 1978, so...

Medville recommends the following reference on the history of exploration of the cave system (which I would love to find a copy of!):

Swicegood, R. (1982)- Simmons-Mingo and the Elk River System, IN: Anderson, R. and L. Baker (eds.)- Capital Area Cavers Bulletin No. 1, 137 pp.

Ron Simmons was on my list of Big Name Cavers that I was eager to meet someday. :cry:
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Postby George Dasher » Feb 23, 2007 11:46 am

I put a post on the PSC listserve last night and Bob Thrun responded.

There is no sense repeating what Bob said, because driggs got it 100% correct. Barney did that connection, not Ron.

Actually, although I would like some more information (particularly on FL, where Ron dove for more than 25 years), I really have plenty of stuff at present. But I am still scourging for a tad here and there.

Ouch!! I checked the interviews for the 2000 Guidebook, but not the cave descriptions. Never even thought about that. Ron's interview in that book was a great help, as was his section in the VAR History, Part II.
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Postby cadyasoukup » Feb 23, 2007 12:11 pm

Ron's dive books will be of great help. I'm sure you'll be able to get some of the info either from Wes Skiles (with whom Ron stayed whilst in Florida) or whoever is working out the details in Charlottesville (Ward Foeller?).

(An aside: Wes Skiles is looking for Roberta Swicegood's slides of the Roppel Sump pushes in the mid-80's - anyone know where they ended up?)

What a major loss - so hard - Cady
just back from the Simmons family 'viewing' in Staunton, Va - with Ron's extended (and extended!) family, some of his coworkers at UVa, and cavers from all over
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A Celebration of the Life of Ron Simmons

Postby Andrea Futrell » May 6, 2007 3:08 pm

*A Celebration of the Life of Ron Simmons*
June 2, 2007
Burnsville, Virginia

Memorial in the late afternoon
Slide show in the evening
Fun ALL the time!

*Fun stuff to do*
View Ron’s print photos and cave maps
Watch slides of Ron’s caving life
Visit cave diving sites
Go caving
Go hiking
Drink adult beverages

*Let us know you are coming*
We would like to know how many people are coming to help us plan for the important stuff (like adult beverages and port-a-johns!). Please send an email to us at ronsimmonsparty@karstmap.com and let us know you are coming.

There is no formal registration or fee. If you would like to help out with the costs of the celebration, please contact Andrea Futrell (contact info below).

Primitive camping is available at and near the celebration site and will be open June 1, 2, and 3.

*What to bring*
We want this celebration of Ron’s life to allow all of us a chance to relax and to share our memories of Ron. We want to keep this simple so we all have time to just hang out. Please plan to take care of yourself and your needs for the weekend.

Ron loved this area for its wet and dry caves and its natural setting.
You can get: fresh air, great caves, and lots of caving banter
You can NOT get: cell phone reception, fast food, restaurants, or stores
Plan to bring whatever you need with you.

*Important stuff to bring*
Toys (you can never have enough toys)
A great sense of humor

*Other stuff to bring*
Drinking water
Camping gear
Rain gear

Near Burnsville, Virginia, UTM NAD 27, 4230970, 621660
Latitude/Longitude, WGS84, 38.2204, -79.6102
We are making a map with the celebration location and with camping site locations. We will post it on http://www.karstmap.com/ronsimmonsparty

*Questions/Comments/Volunteer to help/Celebration donations*
Andrea Futrell, 540-951-8403, karstmap@hotmail.com

*Mayhem facilitation*
Steve Smith, 808-393-3059, amygdala1881@yahoo.com
Wes Skiles, 386-454-2469, terriskiles@alltel.net
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The loss of Ron Simmons

Postby cannaley » May 16, 2007 1:44 pm

I did lots of caving with Ron in the 70's and 80's in WVa, KY and IN. Hated that I found out through the NSS News that he was gone, and was unable to attend the funeral. I will make every effort to attend the celebration. I have lots of pictures and slides from then that I can bring. Includes the Logsdon River Sump dive in 85 (I sherpa'd), the Monster Falls Wall Climb in Canadian Hole, and other entertaining trips. Has anyone been able to reach Ward Foeller, Dave Hubbard, or Tony Knauss? If so I'd appreciate any address info.


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Re: The loss of Ron Simmons

Postby Scott McCrea » May 16, 2007 2:04 pm

cannaley wrote:Ward Foeller, Dave Hubbard, or Tony Knauss? If so I'd appreciate any address info.

Ward and Dave are in the NSS Members Manual. Tony is not. I can send you their info if you don't have access to the MM.
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Postby cannaley » May 16, 2007 4:37 pm

Duh! Never thought to look there. Thanks
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Postby paoconnell » May 21, 2007 11:57 am

I met Ron Simmons at the 1976 pre-convention camp in Union WV at what was then the Union Fieldhouse. At that time, he was just beginning to get into cave diving. We did a lot of caving in that area with others, took a quick historical tour of the area, and went off to Convention.

Ron was pretty memorable, and a helluva lot of fun.
Take nothing but pictures
Leave nothing but footprints
Kill nothing but vandals
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Re: A Celebration of the Life of Ron Simmons

Postby Squirrel Girl » Jun 3, 2007 4:32 pm

Andrea Futrell wrote:*A Celebration of the Life of Ron Simmons*
June 2, 2007
Burnsville, Virginia

*Mayhem facilitation*
Steve Smith, 808-393-3059, amygdala1881@yahoo.com
Wes Skiles, 386-454-2469, terriskiles@alltel.net

Thanks to Andrea for a terrific job with all this (next time I'm hitting *you* in the neck with the foam dart! :wink:

Nice find, Steve, the with chick in the purple wig.

I know whom to ask if I want fireworks, Wes!!!

I think a lot of us knew Ron was there in his own way.
Barbara Anne am Ende

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