Chester Simms and Elvis Presley

The Simms Family

The Simms family moved to Las Vegas in 1951, and ever since have strived to help improve the community through involvement with many charities.

Learn more about the family’s history and how they came into an important part of mid-century Las Vegas growth.

Jump to:

Chester Simms
Marie Simms
Las Vegas and The Flamingo
Dawn Marie Simms

  1. Home
  2. |
  3. The Simms Family

Chester Simms

1909 – 1970

Chester Simms and Elvis Presley

Chester and the “Big E”

Born and raised in Covington, Kentucky, Chester moved to New York City during the depression. He worked in various positions in gaming and at racetracks. His career included managing a casino in Havana in the late 40’s.

c: 1935 Chester Simms swinging a golf club

Chester at the driving range, 1935

Chester Simms at Saratoga c. 1931

Growing up in Kentucky, Chester was quite fond of the horse track

A Guys and Dolls Romance

While in New York in 1943, Chester meets an enchanting young woman named Marie…

Chester Simms and Marie Simms

Chester and Marie enjoyed a romance between New York City and Havana in the 1940’s, long before the Cuba revolution.

Chester and Marie Simms dancing

Chester knew he had met his future bride…

Chester and Marie Simms cutting a wedding cake

Chester and Marie Simms married on November 11, 1945

Marie Bohlman Simms

1925 – 1969

Marie Bohlman Simms
Marie Bohlman Simms, model

Marie Bohlman, Miss Rheingold New York 1943

Born in Queens, NY, 1925, Marie was a model and former Miss Rheingold for New York City.

Throughout her life, Marie Simms set the standard of Las Vegas style. Marie was active socially and spent countless hours involved in charity work.

Family and the Move to Las Vegas

1947 – 1951

Marie Bohlman Simms

Douglas E. Simms, born 1947

Dawn Marie Simms, born 1950

In 1947, Chester and Marie welcomed their first child, Douglas. Three years later, their second child arrived, Dawn. Under Marie’s urging they moved to Las Vegas in 1951.

The Fabulous Flamingo

Chester worked as Casino Manager at the “Fabulous Flamingo” from 1951 to 1967.

The “Fabulous Flamingo” circa 1950

Chester in Las Vegas, 1950

Chester Simms at the roulette table, Las Vegas 1950

Chester Simms business card
Chester Simms playing a bongo with Peggy Lee and Lionel Hampton

Chester playing the bongos with Peggy Lee and Lionel Hampton

Dawn Marie Simms

1950 – 1999

Dawn Marie aged 5

Born in New York City in 1950, Dawn Marie was raised in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Chester Simms playing a bongo with Peggy Lee and Lionel Hampton

Chester, Dawn and Marie at the Flamingo, 1956

Thanks for Everything!

Marie was a standout Junior and Senior high student and attended Mills College in Oakland, California. Dawn also received a Master’s Degree from Holy Names College.

An accomplished chef, she acted as guest chef for many fundraisers. Dawn also taught and guest lectured throughout her culinary career.

She married Dr. Robert Gryzwacz in 1977 and assisted him as manager of his podiatry practice.  Dawn and Robert maintained a beautiful household.  This included a classic garden of a magnitude seen in very few private residences.

Dawn Marie was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1997 and succumbed to the disease in July, 1999.