Elgie R. Sims, Sr. was born August 2, 1942, the youngest son of Carvin and Lizzie Sims (Harris). Despite losing his father at an early age, he lived by and set standards for himself based on the values, standards and work ethic set by his father, standards, and values he lived by every day of his life. His mother made it a point to raise him and his siblings in a home filled with love and focused on Christ, who Elgie accepted at an early age.
He was known for and took great pride in his athletic ability, particularly in track. During his days at Washington High School, he was known as one of the fastest men in the state of Arkansas, which is how he earned himself the nickname “Smoke,” because he said he was so fast that he was “here one second and gone the next, just like a puff of smoke.” People would often tell the story of the time he was able to catch a rabbit in a foot race because he was just that fast.
Always a hard worker, Elgie knew a traditional education was not the best use of his unique skills and abilities, so he left El Dorado in search of a better life for himself and his family, moving first to Milwaukee, Wisconsin and then to Chicago, Illinois. After leaving Arkansas, he invested in himself and his education by attending and graduating from Chicago Automatic Transmission School, Greer Technical School, Sun Electric Technical School, and the Chicago School of Business. During this time, he began working as a laborer at Mel’s Manufacturing where he became a union steward, leaving to serve as a laborer at Schwinn Bicycle Company and subsequently opening his first business, Sims/Jackson Transmission Shop, while attending night school.
After completing business school in 1971, he opened Pete and Sims Shell Station and soon after, he opened Sims Auto Parts in Chicago, Illinois, and New Way Cleaners in El Dorado, Arkansas. In 1978, he expanded his business interests in Chicago to include three warehouses and auto parts stores. But one of his greatest business accomplishments came when he opened Sims Chrysler-Plymouth-Dodge in Fordyce, Arkansas, making him the first African-American in the state of Arkansas to own a new car dealership. He took pride in this accomplishment because he wanted to be an example to young African Americans to show “someone from the bottom can make it.”
Elgie never met a stranger and believed in giving back to the customers he was privileged to serve and the community he called home, that is why he was honored when Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe appointed him to serve on the Arkansas Board of Towing and Recovery, where he served until 2016. He received numerous awards and recognition's, including one from the Nile and Marzell Smith Museum of African American History. His passion was his work and doing everything in a spirit of excellence, it was in this spirit he started Sims Wrecker Service and Elgie’s Used Cars, businesses he worked in tirelessly until he was called home to be with the Lord.
As proud as Elgie was of his work and his success in business, he was most proud of his greatest legacy, his family. He took pride in being the patriarch of his family, dispensing wisdom to his children, grandchildren, nephews, family and the many friends he came into contact with. Elgie was known for his many colorful sayings and the life lessons and challenges he gave himself and those around him.
On March 7, while doing what he loved, working at Sims Wrecker, Elgie experienced a medical emergency and was called home to be with the Lord. He was preceded in death by both of his parents and eight siblings; Jefferson, John Henry, Johnny, Calvin, Robert, Virginia, Catherine, and Flossie.
Elgie leaves to cherish his memory and continue his legacy, his loving wife Penny, seven sons: Pastor Paul (Carol) Sims of Chicago, Illinois, Senator Elgie (Shivonne) Sims Jr. of Chicago, Illinois, Terrence (Rashonda) Sims of Memphis, Tennessee, Libue Steven Sims of Chicago, Illinois, Renelius (Shekasha) Sims of Springdale, Arkansas, Sean Lea-Sims of El Dorado, Arkansas, Josh Sims of El Dorado, Arkansas and five daughters: Teresa Sims of Memphis, Tennessee, Evangelist Elgie Rena (Fletcher) Sims-Neely of Chicago, Illinois, Vicky (Mike) Brown of Fredericksburg, Virginia, Krystal (Rodney) Norman of Memphis, Tennessee and Rashawnda (Albert) Hayes of El Dorado, Arkansas; one brother: Troy (Barbara) Sims of Chicago, Illinois, and two sisters: Eva Lois (Roy) Eutsey of Killeen, Texas and Barbara Johnson of Dallas, Texas; twenty-nine grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, a host of special nieces and nephews, Robert Jr., Marcus, Victor, and Marcus, and friends. Special family members: Irma Sims, Lorene Pettye Sims (In loving memory), Will Ella Gaston (In loving memory), and Barbara Howell.
Public Visitation will be Friday, March 13, 2020, from 12:00 p.m.- 5:00 p.m., Family Hour will follow from 6:00 p.m.- 7:00 p.m. at Sims Mortuary. Funeral Service will be Saturday, March 14, 2020, at 2:30 p.m. at Douglas Chapel Missionary Baptist Church, Interment will be at Lott Burgy Cemetery under the direction of Sims Mortuary. Sign the guestbook at [email protected]To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Elgie R. Sims Sr., please visit our flower store.