SIMS, WILLIAM McKINNIE (1932 ~ 2016). The following is an obituary for Texas State Senator William "Bill" Sims. The obituary was provided by Harper Funeral Home of San Angelo.
Bill Sims was born on January 27, 1932 and grew up in Paint Rock, Texas. He had two older brothers and one older sister. His dad died when he was one year old, and he “might” have been a tiny bit spoiled. He also might have also been a bit on the wild side in his youth, but to hear him tell it, his older siblings blamed all their escapades on him! He met Dorothy Sue Lowe of Sterling City, and there was no one else fit for him after that. They married on January 28, 1955, and were married 61 years. Sue said there was never a man as hardheaded as Bill when he set his mind to it. Imagine that!
After graduating from Texas Tech University (where it took him a few years to master freshman English), Bill went to work for the Texas Agricultural Extension Service as Assistant County Agent for Howard County. Both of their children were born there. After a year or so, he became County Agent for Irion County, and the family moved to Mertzon. He was known for his happy demeanor, whistling and singing as he arrived at the Courthouse. Soon his co-workers figured Bill was fair game for an occasional joke, one of the best of which was putting a live rattlesnake in his pickup as he was showing some big-wigs around town. The harder he tried to get in the truck, the faster they were trying to get out! His “friends” were across the street in a shop rolling in the aisles! His stories are legion in Mertzon, where sometimes his friends got him, and sometimes it was the other way around!
Bill went on to work as executive secretary for Texas Sheep and Goat Raisers’ Association in June of 1966. As before, the job was an immediate fit for him and those who worked with him. He was a sheep man to the core, and he had a good relationship with everyone. His secretary said he used to drive her crazy checking everything she did, as they had the same personality. If a task was either of their responsibilities, they were going to make sure it was done right! She finally sat him down and explained that she would go over every minute detail if he would just let her do her job! He worked for TSGRA for nearly 30 years.
Bill was all about inclusion, and he made it clear from the very beginning. If people weren’t willing to work together, he wasn’t interested in working with them. He brought that spirit of cooperation with him to Austin when he was elected State Senator in 1982. During his tenure he represented fifty-seven and a half Texas Counties. He is the only State Senator to have represented that many counties. It is said that he was the best Republican Democrat they ever had! He ran and won on the Democratic ticket, and he didn’t have much use for those who changed horses mid-stream just to get elected. He said, “I believe I will just dance with the one who brung me!” Conservative to the core, he voted his conscience regardless of whether it was “politically correct” or toed the party line.
In 1995, Bill suffered a major stroke, and many thought he would not make it. Those who knew him well knew that he had both hands and feet on Death’s Door and wasn’t about to go through. Sure enough, just like when he was stricken with polio as a youth, he worked his way back to health and did not retire until 1997. He wasn’t spry as he once was, and he couldn’t do what he used to do, but he could still do what he had always done best, to love his family and friends with his whole heart.
Bill died peacefully in his home on August 29, 2016. His parents Benjamin Victor and Ellen Hartgrove Sims, brother Dunlap Sims, and grandson Wills Setzler preceded him.
Bill is survived by his wife Sue of San Angelo, son Billy and wife Danell, Paint Rock, and daughter Sue Ann, Paint Rock; grandchildren Meredith Powell and Clay, Camilla, Ga.; Jacob Sims and Chelsea, Abilene; Abigail Young and James, Trophy Club; Bailey Strouhal and Brian, Midland; and Giles Setzler, Brownwood; great-grandchildren Landry, Larson and Wyatt Powell and Wills Young; brother Ben Sims and Sue, and sister Kay Campbell and Fred, all of Paint Rock. Along with numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
A special heartfelt gratitude goes out to those who have lovingly cared for Bill these past years and months: Roy, Lupe, Alma, Emily, Pamela, Rolando, Rachel, Athena, and Amy.
Burial will be held Thursday, September 1, 2016, at the Texas State Cemetery in Austin at 2:00 p.m. A memorial service will be held Friday, September 2, 2016, at San Angelo First United Methodist Church at 11:00 a.m. Donations may be made to Hospice of San Angelo or a favorite charity.
Some people leave little footprints and some leave big ones. Bill Sims left big footprints and a vast horde of family and friends who loved him. One young friend said, “the Lord blessed us with his presence for a very long time, and it is sad to hear he is gone.” Yes, it is sad, but we all know where Bill was headed and that was to his Heavenly Home and those he loved there.