Robert McNeill Sims
March 25, 1928 – February 1, 2019
Devoted husband, father, church member, teacher, coach and administrator Robert M. “Bob” Sims passed away in Atlanta, GA on February 1, 2019 at the age of 90. He was born March 25, 1928 in Birmingham, AL to the late couple Edwin & Margaret Sims. His lifelong passion for airplanes was on display early, his room adorned liberally with model airplanes as a boy. A reservoir of information about all planes, he reveled in various biplane excursions.
Bob graduated from Mainland HS as a decorated student-athlete before earning his B.S. from Birmingham-Southern College and M.A from the University of Alabama. Embarking on a career as a science teacher, Bob took to tutoring Marie Newton Sims. The chemistry proved right and they wed on August 29, 1952. They were life partners, fully supporting each other’s personal and professional efforts through all trials, tribulations and joys, for 51 years until her passing November 29, 2003. Bob is survived by sister Jean Sims Boudreau (husband Paul, Daytona Beach, FL), son Robert Clayton Sims (Smyrna, GA), son Kevin McNeill Sims (wife Janet, Charlotte, NC), son Boyce Griffin Sims (Atlanta, GA), granddaughter Allyson Marie Sims (Atlanta, GA), as well as several nieces and nephews. Brother Charlie Sims predeceased him in 1979.
The humble recipient of many state, regional and national honors for his success and commitments to the teaching-coaching profession, Bob lived the maxim “leadership is service”. His name affixed to several academic and soccer honors, Bob was most proud of his efforts to instill the highest standards of sportsmanship and ethics into young people, advancing the “win with humility and lose with grace” mantra. Though having to look up “soccer” after being assigned boys coach at The Westminster Schools in 1958, he guided the team to 5 state championships and 5 state semi-finals over 34 years. Bob was instrumental in establishing the state high school tournament in 1966 before serving as the tournament director through 1993, when he received the Georgia High School Association Meritorious Service Award and the association established the annual Bob Sims Sportsmanship Award. A member of The Westminster Schools Athletic Hall of Fame and the Georgia State Soccer Association Hall of Fame, Bob worked tirelessly to build the sport in schools and communities all across Georgia and the nation. Bob was a charter organizer of Northside YMCA soccer in 1966 and served on the YMCA Board for over 20 years. A charter member of the National Federation High School Soccer Rules Committee, he served in that capacity for 12 years. During his 60 years as a member of United Soccer Coaches, Bob served on several committees over several decades and was honored as the association’s second recipient of the High School Long Term Service Award.
Bob’s specialty as a teacher-coach was encouraging young people, through his dedication, humanity, endearing quips and Irish wit, to become the best version of themselves while enjoying the process. Over his 36 years serving at The Westminster Schools, Bob taught AP Chemistry and had stints as Science Department Chair, Academic Dean and Director of Admissions. The Bob Sims Award recognizes annually the school’s Outstanding Science Student.
Bob was a member and officer of the American Chemical Society over six decades, promoting educational excellence and scientific inquiry. He served on the Administrative Board of Peachtree Road United Methodist Church for over a decade while singing in the Chancel Choir for more than 40 years.
A celebration of Bob’s life will be held at H.M Patterson & Son – Oglethorpe Hill Chapel at 4550 Peachtree Road NE, Atlanta, GA on Saturday, February 9, 2019 at 2pm.
Memorial contributions may be made to The Westminster Schools (www.westminster.net/support-westminster), the United Soccer Coaches Bob Sims Fund (https://unitedsoccercoaches.org/store/donation.aspx) or Peachtree Road United Methodist Church (www.prumc.org/give/). The family wishes to thank Sunrise Assisted Living of Buckhead for their kind care of Bob since 2010.
- Memorial Service Saturday, February 9, 2019
- Reception Saturday, February 9, 2019
Robert McNeill Sims
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February 9, 2019
Bob immediately became a great friend and mentor when we launched our own teaching careers at Westminster, and over the succeeding decades he and Marie never stopped teaching us and enriching our lives. What profound influences they have had, on so many. John and Nedra Roberts
February 4, 2019
Great teacher and coach! Very happy memories in science class and on the soccer field! What a life; he touched so many. Prayers for you all at his passing.