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Obituary for Sid J. Sims
More than anything else, Sid Sims would describe himself as a tennis player. He spent a good chunk of his life with racquet in hand, playing for Ole Miss as one of the first players to receive a tennis scholarship, teaching tennis lessons at a country club during graduate school, and building lifelong friendships on the courts as he competed in local tournaments. He only cut his tennis back to a couple of games a week once his son was born—not many things came before tennis for Sid, but his family was one.
Sid was an incredible husband and father, never absent, never dismissive, always there to listen and to help. He threw himself into bad puns with the enthusiasm of the true dad, coached soccer teams, and helped with merit badges. A quiet man by nature, when Sid spoke he usually gave excellent advice— though his son would not come to suspect this for many years. Sid also practiced his faith quietly, leading by example in his home as he sat by the fireplace for his daily Bible reading and worked as best as he was able to practice the lessons that he read.
Sid was an enthusiastic traveler, and the pins stuck into his map covered much of the United States, as well as Canada, Mexico, much of Europe, and Japan. There was even a trip to Wimbledon, which Sid treated with all the seriousness and devotion of a religious pilgrimage, standing in line for more than six hours to get into the tournament in person. It was actually his second visit to Wimbledon—during a previous trip to England, when the tournament was not in session and the courts not open to the public, Sid may have bypassed certain walls in order to set foot on what he considered to be hallowed ground.
While Sid always prioritized work well behind family and tennis, he still managed to build a successful career as a banker, spending many years at Deposit Guaranty, staying with the bank as it was bought by First American and Amsouth. After decades in banking Sid was asked to head the Education Services Corporation, shepherding the company through major industry transitions and putting it on a secure financial footing that guaranteed its future growth. On Sid’s last day at ESF he received a constant stream of visitors to his office, employees who could not let him leave before they told him how much his help and mentorship had meant to them. Sid left work that day in tears.
During the last years of his life Sid grappled with the early onset of dementia. The disease would waste his mind and body, stealing years from his life and eventually making it impossible for him to work or travel. He continued his regular tennis games as long as he could, with his longtime tennis partners promising that they would play with him until he was no longer able to shuffle around the court. Despite his rapid decline he continued to provide constant love and encouragement to his son, and was delighted in his grandchildren, doting on them to the best of his ability.
He is survived by his wife, Norma, who cared for him at home through the entirety of his illness, providing him with constant love through his hardest days, his brother Bill, his sister Harriet, his son, David, his daughter-in-law, Iris, and his grandchildren Vivian and Arthur, whose names he remembered and treasured to the very end of his life, long after the disease had stolen most of his other memories from him.