Many people paid their last respects over the past weekend to “Icon of Saba” Harriet Carmen Simmons-Nicholson, who passed away on July 21. Born on December 21, 1931, she leaves to mourn her six daughters, two sons, two stepdaughters, one stepson and one foster daughter, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren too numerous to mention.
A wake and tributes were held for the deceased at Sacred Heart Church in The Bottom on Thursday evening, August 4. A homegoing ceremony took place at the same church on Saturday afternoon.
Simmons, affectionately known as “Miss Carmen”, lived a full life with the highest highs and the lowest lows. With family and God as the cornerstones of her life she survived childhood abandonment by her father, the Depression and the eventual death of her mother when she was a teenager. Still, she dedicated her life to her island community in Saba.
Simmons volunteered in many organizations and activities, including the Saba Girls and Boys Sports Society, which she founded in 1962, the Saba Women’s Organization, the Saba Culture Foundation and the Eastern Stars. She also was instrumental in putting Saba Carnival on the map.
Simmons received a royal decoration on behalf of King Willem Alexander on King’s Day in 2015, and in 1990 she received the “Zilveren Anjee” from the Prince Bernhard Culture Fund for her cultural and social work in Saba.
The Saba Lions Club held a Life Membership Award ceremony at Eugenius Johnson Center in Windwardside in December 2020, during which Lion Simmons was symbolically recognized for her long-time dedicated service to the Lions Club.
The Life Membership Award is only granted by the International Association of Lions Clubs to Lions who have maintained active membership for 20 or more years, and have rendered outstanding service to the club and the community.
Simmons was highly regarded by Saba’s Lions Club and the Lions district for her years of involvement, as she displayed commitment in supporting various projects and activities for the betterment of Saba. Projects that affect the youth and the elderly of Saba were of special interest to her, as she was one of their greatest advocates. She was a major contributor to the Lions Club, holding the positions of vice president, president and chairwoman of various committees in this service club.
The Daily Herald.