Photography

Richard Wilson Sims

September 9, 1946 ~ October 1, 2020 (age 74)

Obituary

SIMS, Richard Wilson, husband, father, grandfather, and friend, passed away surrounded by love on Thursday, October 1, 2020, at Cone Health Alamance Regional Medical Center in Burlington, North Carolina, after a long illness. Born on September 9, 1946, to Karl and Hannah (Wilson) Sims, Richard grew up in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, playing baseball and joining the Boy Scouts, where he earned the Eagle Scout Award. He earned a BA in Business Administration from the Detroit Institute of Technology and later, a MA in Professional Management from Indiana Northern, which he attended on the weekends.

In his first job as an accountant at Burroughs Corporation, he wore a seersucker suit and caught the eye of a co-worker, Kathleen A. Holub. Their marriage endured for 51 years until his passing, and they had four children, Christopher, twins Melissa and a beautiful baby boy (both deceased), and Elizabeth, and they raised their family in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, and in Roswell, Georgia. His career also included long stints at Contel Corporation and Verizon Communications. While he was not much of a typist, and his hand-writing earned stern looks from his mother, a Latin teacher, he was a wizard with the adding machine and excelled in customer service. He traveled widely for his career and he once received, unexpectedly, a trophy mailed to his home from Delta Airlines, congratulating him on flying more than two million miles.

Although he had only cats growing up, and he claimed not be an animal person, this changed the day he drove home to find a cute puppy in his son’s lap, and gave in to his request to keep her. Decades of Golden Retrievers followed.

Richard was a provider, a fantastic storyteller, and a loyal friend. While his wife was an extraordinary cook, somehow Richard made the best pancakes in the family. He rooted for the University of Michigan in football and for Georgia Tech in basketball. After he left his business career, he volunteered, with great dedication, for many years at the Dawson County (GA) Emergency Management Agency.

In the last decade of his life, Richard and Kathleen made their home in Mebane, North Carolina. He made near-daily trips to the Mebane Public Library, where they always knew him by name and had the latest James Patterson thriller ready for him at the check-out desk. In his late 60s, he returned to work in retail in a sporting goods store — the same job he had held as a teenager. He worked there as long as he was physically able to, and would show up a half-hour early for a two-hour shift. He never gave up working in order to help his family.

Richard is survived by his wife, Kathleen; his sister, Margaret Brown; his children: Christopher Sims and his wife, Kathleen Colville; Elizabeth Deal; his grandchildren: Judson Deal, Karl Sims, and Margaret Sims. A private family service will be held later in October in Tipp City, Ohio. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to “Friends of the Alamance Public Libraries, 342 S. Spring Street, Burlington, NC 27215” or at https://alamancefol.org/ (kindly note “Richard Sims memorial gift” and send notice of memorial gifts to the Friends of the Alamance Public Libraries to chris.sims@alumni.duke.edu for the family to acknowledge).

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