Dr. James “Jim” Hylbert Sims, of Rock Hill, formerly of Hattiesburg, MS went to be with the Lord on Sunday, September 8, 2019.
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Dr. Sims was in the US Navy from 1942 until 1946 serving on the Betelgeuse (AKA11) from 1943-1944 and was involved in the invasion of Southern France and Italy. He also served in the South Pacific on Guam from 1945-46
Dr. Sims became an ordained Baptist minister in 1947 and pastored a number of different churches including in Antioch and Micanopy FL, and in Evansville, IN. After a severe car accident, God called him to return to get further formal education in the field of English literature which he pursued at the University of Florida, earning a BA, MA, and PhD. Subsequently he taught English Literature, specializing in 16th century literature, specifically John Milton and William Shakespeare; and in addition, taught courses in the literature of the Bible. Dr. Sims published books on the use of the Bible in the works of both Milton and Shakespeare, and on the Bible books of Daniel and Revelation, and wrote numerous scholarly journal articles during his career. He taught at a number of institutions, including Tift College in Forsyth GA; Austin Peay University in Clarksville, TN; University of Oklahoma in Norman, OK. Dr. Sims was Chairman of English at several schools, a tenured professor at all the institutions where he served, and finished his career both as a professor of English and finally as Vice President of Academic Affairs at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, MS.
Dr. Sims was a fine gentleman, exemplary Christian, wonderful teacher of literature and of Bible, unswervingly devoted and faithful husband, loving father, grandfather and great grandfather. He will be greatly missed by his friends, his 3 surviving children, his 14 grandchildren, and 14 great grandchildren, and will be often remembered by all who knew him for his kindness, gentleness and loving attitude towards all people he encountered.
Dr. Sims was led to the Lord by Bible teaching from then teenager Billy Graham at a Bible camp, and then for most of his early life was an Independent Baptist, then later on in life after leaving the pastorate, continuing fellowship in Baptist circles, but became more of an ecumenical in terms of attendance in the various places where he lived, including Community Bible churches, Presbyterian, Methodist and a few others. At various points in his life he was a member of a number of civic organizations like Lions Club, chaired a variety of committees for organizations, and was on the Board of several mission organizations, and generously supported a variety of missionaries, and charitable organizations both in the USA and abroad. Aside from his life-long interest in English literature, he loved Portuguese literature, and so and learned to read and speak some of that language, as well as a bit of Italian and French to help him during trips to interact with scholars in those languages. James and his wife Elizabeth loved art, poetry, travel and music – especially gospel, classic instrumentals and orchestra, opera, US jazz of every kind, Bluegrass, and the love songs and dance tunes of the 40’s and 50’s, many of which he knew by heart and often sang for pleasure. He had a love and a life-long interest in aviation, becoming a private pilot at about 45 years of age, earning his instrument and commercial ratings, and actively flying a variety of airplanes until his mid 60’s.
Dr. Sims life themes can be expressed in this way: “carpe diem” (within bounds) eternity through Christ for, …. “Of Him, through Him, and to Him are all things” (Romans 11:36) with (1 Corinthians 15:34-58)
The Sims family would like to extend their sincere appreciation to all the staff and nurses at Westminster Towers, as well as to his many friends and acquaintances there who contributed to his joy in the last decade plus of his life. We also extend our very special thanks to all the hospice nurses, physicians and staff at Wayne T. Patrick Hospice House here in Rock Hill for their unwavering compassionate and supportive care provided to Dr. Sims during his last days of life. The kindness of all of you will never be forgotten by his family.
He was preceded in death by his Wife of 60 years Elizabeth Gray Sims, Sister Jean Wilburn, second son Timothy Sims, and his third child and only daughter, Suzannah Blackwell.
Dr. Sims is survived by sons, James W (Regine) Sims of Jesteburg, Germany, C. Andrew (Anne) Sims of Waxhaw, NC, and John M. Sims of Jupiter, FL .
Memorial Service 10:00 am, Saturday 14th September, at Westminster Presbyterian Church Chapel in Rock Hill, SC
Dr. Sims will be buried alongside his wife Elizabeth in Hattiesburg, MS
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations to: Wayne T. Patrick Hospice House, 2275 India Hook Rd, Rock Hill SC: https://hospicecommunitycare.org