In Memory of




Obituary for Polly Jo Simmons

Polly Jo Gates Simmons
March 17, 1979 - October 23, 2022

Polly Jo Simmons died unexpectedly of a pulmonary embolism the morning of October 23, 2022. She is survived by her husband, Aaron Michael Simmons, and her three children: Peggy Jo Simmons (11), Hazel Maude Simmons (8) and Cary Jay Simmons (5).

Polly was born on March 17, 1979 to Samuel Bartlett Gates and Nancy Jo Cooper Gates. She was the youngest of three– her older brothers are Rudd Gates and Joel Gates.

Born and raised in Lakewood, CO, she graduated from Lakewood High School. She earned a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts followed by a Master’s of Fine Arts from CU Boulder.

After college and a stint at the Post Office, Polly served in the Peace Corps for two years in the Philippines, teaching art and English at Besao National High School.

While in the Peace Corps, she met Aaron. When they got back to the States, Polly and Aaron married at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science (under the foot of the giant T-Rex fossil) on Feb 6, 2010. They settled down in Boulder, CO to start a family.

Polly was an artist in every moment, every thought -- in everything she did. And always there was color, color, and more color. She couldn’t stop making things. There was always a project in the works that would be infused with her aesthetic, elevating the mundane. From painted wall patterns to custom-built furniture to funny custom t-shirts to a redesigned bathroom to collaborating with her kids on a painting. She wasn’t bound to a single medium – the world was her canvas. Our lives were her canvas.

A Celebration of Life will be held Sunday, December 11, 2022 at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art (BMoCA). The celebration will begin at 1pm with a service, followed by hearty appetizers, beer and wine in a gallery setting full of Polly's art. While our hearts are heavy with grief, we wish to truly celebrate the vibrant, independent, colorful person Polly Jo Simmons will always be to us. Please do not wear black. We encourage elegant, bohemian-chique, and colorful attire.