Rev. G. William Sims (98) passed away on October 25, 2018. “Bill” was born a leap year baby on February 29, 1920 to Herman and Mabel Sims in Marion, IL. He was preceded in death by his wife of 65 years, Ruby Esther “Besser” Sims and his son William Paul “Billy” Sims. He is survived by his daughter Jean Sims; three grandchildren: Cynthia Stine, Michael Stine and Shannon Jamison; and five great-grandchildren: Eric Serdar, Ethan Stine, Aiden Stine, Emma Story and Langston Story.
Also preceding Bill in death are his parents, four brothers, Ralph Sims (Margaret), R. Paul Sims (Jeanne’), Byrl Sims (Augusta), Arthur Sims (Millie), and two sisters, Reba Sims and Fannie Sims.
A faithful servant his whole life, Rev. Sims felt the calling early as a teenager. He graduated from Asbury University in 1941 and Asbury Seminary in 1948. He served as an Army Chaplain with an Army hospital unit from 1944-1946 in World War II and an additional 28 years in the Reserves and National Guard, retiring with the rank of Colonel. Before transferring to Florida, he ministered in United Methodist churches in Illinois for 22 years, serving Galatia, Raleigh, Benton, and E. St. Louis First Church. During his ministry, he took mission trips to both Japan and Cuba.
After his retirement, Bill served for 3 years as chaplain to the residents of John Knox Village in Pompano Beach where he lived for the past 30+ years. In retirement, he and his wife Besser traveled around the world and around the U.S.A. in an RV. He was an ordained minister for 75 years, the longest serving Methodist minister in the Florida conference.
He had an extraordinary gift for connecting people to God and each other throughout his long life. He wrote a special Christmas letter every year since 1946 to the men and women in the “Fighting 138th” unit who he served with in World War II. Besides sharing what happened in his year, he kept the men and women up to date with each other. Later in life, he started a weekly email newsletter for his extended family to share birthdays, family happenings and photos. Even after he lost his eyesight, he continued both the family weekly email and the Christmas letter to the 138th with help from his children. He treasured the connection with his friends and family. Before he became blind, he was also a stained glass artist who created many lamps for family and windows at John Knox Village. Website: grandpasims.com.
A memorial service will be held November 17, 2018 at the John Knox Village auditorium, 651 Lakeside Circle, Pompano Beach, FL 33060 from 2:00 – 4:00 PM, including a reception. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Beulah Holiness Camp Association, 1710 Oakshire Road, Marion, IL 62959.
For those who knew him in Illinois, a memorial service will be held at Mitchell-Hughes Funeral Home in Marion on December 1, 2018 at 2:00 PM, 800 N Market St, Marion, IL 62959. A reception will be held afterwards at Bennie’s Italian Foods: 309 N Market St, Marion, IL 62959. All are welcome to both services.