Lawrence “Larry” Sims
June 2, 1949 – November 13, 2021
Larry Sims, former recreation director for the city of Pascagoula, died in Providence Hospital, Mobile. In 1974, Larry and his wife Kay, recent graduates of USM, came to the coast to teach at Pascagoula High School. Students will remember his classroom in the old high school gym and his girls’ basketball team practicing there, and later his officiating there as a referee. He later served at Resurrection Catholic School as athletic director and basketball coach. When Larry was recreation director, the same gym at PHS became part of the city’s recreation department. He focused on building sports programs for all ages from girls’ and boys’ peewee basketball, to boy’s and men’s flag football and improving and building specialized facilities for a variety of sports. For years, he enjoyed coaching peewee girls’ basketball teams and refereeing basketball and volleyball across South Mississippi.
Larry loved sports, especially watching USM and Texas. Playing tennis: singles, doubles, and team and pickleball as well as participating in the Senior Olympics, bicycling, or even bocce and badminton filled his weekends in retirement.
Born in Atlantic City, NJ, Larry was the oldest of five children to Charles W. Sims of Mississippi and Teresa Kennedy Sims of Holy Rood, Newfoundland. The family moved to Philadelphia, PA then to Jackson, Mississippi. He attended St. Joseph High School, then USM where he got a degree in history with additional course work in sports and recreation management. Midway into college he met and married Kay as they worked through their last years of college together. From Hattiesburg they moved to Pascagoula where they found jobs in the school and the place they would call home for their family.
In 1981, their daughter Erin was born and Larry had another title he was most proud of, “Dad.” He passed on to her his kindness and thoughtful ways as well as his passion for sports and competition, especially running. Given a chance, he was glad to tell anyone about his daughter Erin and her latest accomplishment. He was her coach, her mentor and biggest fan from Hershey’s Relays to the Texas Relays and now Cross-fit competitions. When Erin chose to go to the University of Texas, or Germany or France, he found a way to support her in person and from afar.
Larry leaves behind to cherish his memory his wife of 51 years, Kay Sims, daughter Erin Sims (Alex), sister Angela Berry, two brothers Charles Sims (Christie), David Sims (Suzanne), brothers-in-law Ben Sanford (Susan) and Barry Sanford, sister-in-law Ginger Sanford Corley (Kevin), dozens of nieces and nephews, and great-nieces and nephews as well as Canadian aunts, uncles, cousins and second cousins. He is preceded in death by his parents Charles and Teresa Sims, brother Curtis Sims, and brother-in-law Michael Berry.
We are thankful for the care from nurses, doctors and staff at Providence and for all the friends, neighbors, colleagues, former students and teams who befriended him through the years and have supported us in our grief. He was a man of few words but he cared for all those people in simple ways we are only now discovering.
Visitation will be held at O’Bryant O’Keefe, 4811 Telephone Road, Pascagoula, on Wednesday Nov. 17 from 5 until 7 pm. A Memorial Service will be held at First Presbyterian Church, 1819 Pascagoula St., Pascagoula, MS on Thursday, November 18 at 11 am.
View and sign register book at www.obryantokeefe.com.
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