Santa Fe Trail Association Founding President Marc Simmons Passes

Description: The Santa Fe Trail Association wrote the following letter in honor and acknowledgment of the passing of their Founding President Marc Simmons... Our Heartfelt Condolences To His Loved Ones...

Published: 09/18/2023
Byline: SECO News

Santa Fe Trail Association Founding President Marc Simmons Passes

Marc Simmons, the founding president of the Santa Fe Trail Association and renowned historian of the Southwest, passed away Thursday, September 14 in a memory care unit at La Vida Llena Retirement Community in Albuquerque, NM at the age of 86. 

He was born in Texas on May 15, 1937.  His writing, lectures, research and story-telling focus on the various cultures of the Southwest and he is recognized as one of the highest authorities on the history of the Santa Fe Trail.   Dr. Simmons received his higher education at the University of Texas, University of New Mexico and University of Guanajuato (Mexico). Marc Simmons has published more than forty books on New Mexico and the American Southwest. His popular “Trail Dust” column was syndicated in several regional newspapers. In 1993, King Juan Carlos of Spain admitted him to the knightly Order of Isabel la Católica for his contributions to Spanish colonial history.

In 2008, Marc began to donate his vast collection of books, magazines, newspapers, photographs, and other research materials and writings to the Wittliff Collections at Texas State University.  A listing of his archive can be found at: Marc Simmons Wittliff Collections Inventory 

Marc Simmons was the founding president of the Santa Fe Trail Association (SFTA) in 1986, serving in that capacity, 1986-1989. 

SFTA honored Marc Simmons by creating the Marc Simmons Writing Award which is given for the best article published in Wagon Tracks, the SFTA’s award-winning, quarterly peer-reviewed publication.  Although Marc insisted that the SFTA Awards Committee “NEVER” give him awards, in 2021 the Santa Fe Trail Association honored him, and paid tribute to his outstanding achievements by awarding him the Jack D. Rittenhouse Memorial Stagecoach Award for extraordinary achievement and lifetime contributions to the Santa Fe Trail, including lifetime achievement in research and writing about the history of the Santa Fe Trail.

In 1986, Marc Simmons opened the first Santa Fe Trail Association Symposium with the resounding, "The Santa Fe Trail Lives On!" As we approach our 40th anniversary as a non-profit focused on preserving the many stories of the historic Santa Fe Trail -- we gratefully acknowledge Marc for his leadership and enthusiasm for saving, and sharing the many histories of the Southwest.

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