Jesse Bernard Sims, Jr. ’69

Lt. Cmdr (Ret) Jesse Bernard Sims, Jr., 79, of Chattanooga passed away after a valiant battle with cancer.

He was born in Denver, Colorado to the late Jesse Bernard Sims, Sr. and Geraldine “Donnie” Sims on March 14, 1945. He was a graduate of McCallie School, Class of 1963. He lettered in several sports while at McCallie and still holds the record along with Abner Oldham for the fastest mile. Upon graduation he moved to North Carolina where he graduated from Davidson College with a degree in Literature. Jesse also went to the University of Tennessee Knoxville where he worked towards his Masters degree in Early Childhood Education. Jesse was a proud veteran of the USMC and the Naval Reserves. He achieved the rank of Lt. Commander and retired after 20 years of service in the Naval Reserves.

Jesse was a true Southern gentleman. He never met a stranger. When he and his wife were dining in a restaurant in Washington D.C., his wife excused herself to go to the powder room and, on her return, the entertainer had joined them for dinner.

He loved information. He wanted to know about everything. One of his sons stated, “my dad is a walking encyclopedia; unfortunately, he is a talking one too”. He hated technology: no computer, email or Facebook for him. Oh, but Google, he loved it as it was his information central, which led to obtaining a cell phone and an iPad.

Jesse did love to tell stories one of his favorites was how a bunch of his McCallie classmates took a raft trip down the Tennessee River to go to New Orleans. Unfortunately, they had to abandon the raft and return home before reaching New Orleans. This however did not stop his love for travel. His travels led him to a long and enduring friendship with an Englishman who could not believe he was speaking with an American who could quote a Latin poem

Jesse loved theatre, music, and all of the arts but dancing was his favorite. Jesse would jump up in any location and start buck dancing. This led to a friend dubbing him the “Dancing Fool.”

Jesse loved his church. He was a Bible scholar, a Lay Leader at his church First Centenary UMC. He also taught Sunday School there and volunteered as a tutor in the Centenary Program. He loved children and animals.

Jesse loved helping people the Hospice social worker used to live in his neighborhood picking up trash as he walked his dogs.

Jesse truly let his light shine in the world. The night he passed away, a fire fly with his light blinking flew around the room.

He will be missed by his wife, family and many wonderful friends who have supported him through his battle with cancer.

He was preceded in death by his aforementioned parents.

Left behind to cherish Jesse’s memory are his wife of 34 years, Cyndee Sims, his sons, Andrew and Daniel Sims, his brothers, Paul (Suzanne) Sims and Donald Sims, a sister, Maxine (Dan) McNutt, brother-in-law, Charlie McGuire, several nieces and nephews, his fur-babies, Maximus, Piper and Garnet and many dear friends.

A Celebration of Jesse’s life will be held on Friday June 7, 2024 at 11:00 am at First Centenary United Methodist Church with Dr. Will Lauderback and Pastor Barry Kidwell officiating. The family will receive friends prior to the service beginning at 9:30 am. Jesse will be laid to rest on Monday June 10, 2024 at 10:30 am in the Chattanooga National Cemetery with full military honors.

In lieu of flowers memorial contributions in Jesse’s memory can be made to The Centenary and/or to The Mustard Tree in care of First Centenary UMC.