Ada Louise proclaimed that she always wanted to be a teacher. Even when she was “slinging hash” at Hampton Beach during the 30’s, she did it to get herself through school so she could teach. And what a teacher she was! Starting in a one-room schoolhouse where she taught (and fed) her ragtag class, up to the time when she expounded on the wisdom of the ages on her lanai overlooking Santa Barbara harbor, her extraordinary life was an example for all.
She came to DoDDS as an exchange principal in 1976 at Mainz Elementary School, Germany. She had assignments in Okinawa and spent 8 years as a fifth grade teacher at Sullivan’s Elementary School in Yokosuka, Japan, where she retired in 1989.
Perk was a traveler. She gained knowledge of the world and its people and she shared her love of life with people on every continent. As she learned, she imparted that knowledge to all of her family, friends, colleagues and students. Her adventures are legendary– the Borneo longhouse where she was kicked by a granny and returned the favor, being carried up the stairs in a sling to the temples in Kyoto, tipping so much to the rickshaw driver in Katmandu that he tossed aside his vehicle and ran shouting through the narrow streets. She danced in the discos of Zermatt, drank in the Peninsula in Hong Kong, dined at the Del in San Diego, and laughed at the antics of the monkeys in India as she rode the rails. She thought she found one of her former selves in a crocodile well in Egypt, and she was sure Machu Pichu was a previous residence.
In her 93 years Ada Louise (Perk) Simmons touched so many lives in such a positive way that everyone who knew her is sure that on the day she died, a wonderful soul reentered the world and some very lucky baby will grow up to be a guru or the next Dali Lama. This faith in her return sustains all of us who loved and revered our greatest teacher.