Radio Pioneer Lamar Simmons Dies at 92
Simmons Fought At Iwo Jima, Guam, And Bougainville During World War II
BATON ROUGE — Baton Rouge radio pioneer Lamar Simmons died last Thursday at age 92.
Simmons, who graduated from Istrouma High School in 1938, attended the LSU School of Journalism but dropped out just before graduating to volunteer to serve in the United States Marine Corps during World War II. He was in the South Pacific and saw combat in some of the most difficult battles — Iwo Jima, Guam, and Bougainville. He lost most of his hearing during combat. His three younger brothers — Shelton, Gene, and Jimmy — joined the other three branches of the armed forces. All were graduates of Istrouma. Gene is a long-time resident of Central.
After the war, Lamar Simmons recruited nine partners and together they purchased radio station WLCS, the first rock and roll station in Baton Rouge. It was often the No. 1 station in the market and in 1964 had a 55 percent share of the market. He and his partner Gene Nelson eventually bought out the other partners.
He also owned WQXY-FM in Baton Rouge, along with stations in Beaumont and Jackson, MS.
After selling the stations, he enjoyed raising cattle on a farm in East Feliciana Parish.
In 2004, LSU discovered that Lamar had earned enough credits to receive his degree. It was presented by President George Bush.
Lamar Simmons was preceded in death by his first wife and mother of his children, Wessie Olivia Harvey Simmons, his son Steven Perry Simmons, and his brother Shelton. He is survived by his wife Annie Walker Simmons; son David Lamar Simmons, Sr.; daughter Carol Anne White; daughter Janis Marie Swetman; spouses; eight grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren; his brothers Gene and Jimmy, and their families. Funeral arrangements and burial were at Resthaven Gardens.