Oliver Daniel Simons, who grew up in Yellow Springs, died unexpectedly in Cincinnati on July 4th. He was 44 years old.
Oliver was born in a small house on a pig farm outside of Cedarville on August 31, 1978, the son of Jeff Simons and Christina Lynn Hess. His birthing was attended by two Yellow Springs midwives. In March 1980, Oliver and his parents moved to Yellow Springs where he spent the first six years of his life in their home on Pleasant Street. Following his parent’s divorce, Oliver lived predominantly with his mother and stepdad, Chris Moore, on Whiteman Street. In the 1980s and 1990s, Oliver attended Mills Lawn Elementary School and Yellow Springs High School.
After high school, Oliver began struggling with substance abuse; nevertheless, he became an accomplished musician by his late teens. His first instrument was the mandolin, and he made his initial public appearance in the late 1990s, playing in a series of Shakespeare festivals at the Antioch College amphitheater. Later on, he played with bands in Yellow Springs, including Paul’s Apartment, and several in Dayton. On a few occasions, he opened for recording artists at the Canal Street Tavern.
Unfortunately, Oliver’s problems with substance abuse often led to legal problems. As a result, he spent a few years in prison; however, during one long incarceration he took up the electric guitar and played with a prison blues band. After his release, he was proficient enough to excel with local rock groups.
Oliver loved adventure. When he was nine, he and his dad traveled across the U.S. for a month and camped in several national parks. When his father lived overseas, Oliver spent time with him in Japan and Guam. He also traveled with his mom and her husband Chris on trips to Florida and New England. Later on, Oliver became a dedicated Dead Head and followed the band on several of their cross-country tours. In his thirties, he spent time with friends in Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico.
Oliver’s younger brother, Brendan, said that Oliver was doing well in the month prior to his passing. Oliver had a full-time job and was playing guitar in a Cincinnati band. His death came as an unexpected shock to everyone who knew him. Some of Oliver’s friends summed up their relationship with him in a series of text messages following his death:
Oliver was always one of my favorite and closest friends. Even in his darkest moments he knew how to bring joy and laughter into a room. He will be missed. There was no one like him.
I loved Oliver so much. He impacted my life in such a beautiful way. He was brilliant, and I really had a true friend in him. He kept me safe and he taught me so much.
Ollie was a talented, loving, smart, adventurous, and kind-hearted spirit who left this
world too soon. Those who loved him knew this about him and held on to that knowledge, even when he was at his worst and experiencing his darkest days. He was hopeful, bright and clever. His love of music lit his path and no matter where he was, music was his saving grace. Ollie will be greatly missed by his family and his family of friends. We are heartbroken at his tragic end. But we are hopeful that he can forever on rest in peace.
I miss him so much. He was a great friend. I know he made mistakes, but we all do.
Oliver’s mother, Christina, died in 2011, but he is survived by his father, Jeff; step father, Chris Moore; step mother and step brother, Amanda Wallace and Lucas Chard; two brothers, Nathan and Brendan Moore; Desirae (Brendan’s wife); and nephews Teddy and Jory.
Oliver’s father believes that instead of flowers or cards, modest donations to the DeCoach Recovery Center in Xenia, Ohio, would be a wonderful way to commemorate his son’s life.