Skip to main content

Collection 443 Oral History Interviews with William L. Simmer

Identifier: CN 443

Scope and Contents

Oral history interview with William Leonard Simmer (1929-2015) in which he discusses his childhood, years in the United States Air Force, conversion to Christianity, education at Washington Bible College, and the development of Good News Jail and Prison ministry. Other topics discussed include: Carl Henry, Grady Wilson, and the BGEA 1960 Washington, DC, Crusade. The time period covered by the interviews is 1929 to 1991.

William Leonard Simmer was interviewed by Robert Shuster on June 21, 1991 at the Billy Graham Center Archives at Wheaton College.


  • Created: 1991

Conditions Governing Access

Names have neen removed from the recordings and the transcripts of T2 and T3 until January 1, 2041.

Biographical Information

Birth Date: October 2, 1929

Birth Place: Ottumwa, Iowa; grew up in Des Moines, Iowa


Parents: Alfred and Florence Robbins Simmer

Siblings: Stan, Larry, Roger, Wanda

Marital Status: Married to Helen Mylum

Children: Cathy, Charlotte, William

Conversion: 1953 in Virginia

Ordination: 1963

Denominational Affiliation: Baptist


1959-1963 Washington Bible College

Bible correspondence courses especially for prisoners

1970-1971 Developed graduate level course in prison chaplaincy


1946-1952 Air Force: Air Traffic Supervisor

1952-1954 Manager of a dime store

1954-1955 Manager of another dime store

1953-1955 Sold televisions

1956-1959 Home improvement, insurance, real estate in Boston, MA

1961-1983 Founder and President of Good News Mission

1974-1976 Executive Director, National Jail Association

1983- President Emeritus of Good News Jail and Prison Ministries

President, International College, Honolulu, Hawaii


3 Audio Tapes

205 Minutes

Language of Materials


Accruals and Additions

The materials in this collection were given to the Graham Center Archives by William Simmer in June 1991.

Accession 91-56

April 14, 1997

Janyce H. Nasgowitz

Collection 443 Oral History Interviews with William L. Simmer
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Roman Script

Repository Details

Part of the Evangelism & Missions Archives Repository

501 College Avenue
Wheaton IL 60187 US