"Harold Simmons was a true Texas giant, rising from humble beginnings and seizing the limitless opportunity for success we so deeply cherish in our great state. His legacy of hard work and giving, particularly to his beloved University of Texas, will live on for generations. Anita and I send our thoughts and prayers to the Simmons family."
In each military memorial service the chaplains use the same famous phrase. That phrase is "On a tombstone there are two numbers. But those numbers do not mean much. What means the most is the little '-' between them".
It's another way of saying that it isn't about when somebody was born or how they died. It is all about how they lived. Harold Simmons lived. Texas, America, and the world are all better because of it.
Libertarians and Conservatives loved Harold Simmons. Many Democrats despised him. Within political circles, Simmons was well known for his political contributions. Rumors and reports indicate that Harold would have his executive assistants and staff run background checks on potential candidates who contacted him. Simmons sought to back candidates who were pro-business, pro-prosperity, and counter to superfluous government interference in the marketplace or high taxation. He understood that government subsidies and high taxes have negative impacts on the economy.
Simmons graduated from the University of Texas in 1951 with a BS in Economics. He earned a Masters a year later from the same university. He rose from humble beginnings as the son of school teachers to become a billionaire. His fortune began with a single pharmacy and drug store and grew through investments in diversified fields from medicals supplies and pharmaceuticals to metals to energy to waste disposal and recycling companies.
Once, in an interview, he was asked about his political donations. He responded with:
"I've got the money, so I'm spending it for the good of the country and to match the unlimited amounts from labor unions."Of Barack Obama and his Keynesian economic policies, Harold once stated during an interview with the Wall Street Journal:
"Any of these Republicans would make a better president than that socialist, Obama. Obama is the most dangerous American alive because he would eliminate free enterprise in this country."
When John Kerry bragged about being a war hero, Harold Simmons was one of the chief donors to the groups running the SWIFT boat ads that revealed the truth behind Kerry's military career.
Harold Simmons donated to much more than just political campaigns that supported opportunities for free choice and prosperity. He gave millions to various charities. Among those was $175 million to University of Texas - Southwestern to build a cancer research and treatment center. He also once gave $50 million to the Parkland Hospital in Dallas, TX. One of his other more prominent donations was through his foundation, a $600 thousand grant to The Resource Center to help HIV-positive people, especially those within the gay communities.
Approximately 45% of the Simmons Foundation's grants go to medical and health charities. The remainder goes towards education, social welfare, youth groups, and arts & culture. That creates a wide spectrum of charitable interests marking Simmons as having been a true humanitarian.
Simmons worked hard, enjoyed life, and spread his blessings to those in need. He put his money where his heart and mouth were, standing on principles of fiscal conservatism and social libertarianism. His companies provide thousands of jobs, his charity work has helped even more people. In the political realm, he put his money where his morals and values rested, not to seek "behind the throne" power, but towards what he believed was best for all Americans. He made Texas, the USA, and the world a better place. He will be sorely missed.