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Thomas Lewis Sims

March 10, 1943 ~ June 2, 2023 (age 80) 80 Years Old

Thomas Sims Obituary

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An interview with Tommy
Where were you born? How long did you live there?
I was born in Durham, NC. [March 10, 1943]. I lived there for 6 months, then we moved to NYC for 6 months , then to Staten Island. My dad got a job working in Stapleton. All the black guys worked over here. It was very common for black men to work on Staten Island in the 40s.
Who were your parents and siblings?
My parents were Dorothy and Lambert Lewis Sims. I had 2 siblings: a younger sister named Barbara and a younger brother named Damon.
Where did you go to school?
Grammar school: PS 15 Tompkinsville
6-8th grade: PS 16 Tompkinsville
High School: McKee
What was your first job?
Bloomingdales on 59th and Lexington. I started as a stock man.  I worked my way up to become the department supervisor of men’s suits, which was a very prestigious position, and then supervisor of the receiving platform.
After that, I went to work drug testing for ConEd. I drove a 24 foot mobile home to all of their locations in the Metropolitan area.
My last job was housekeeping at the Hilton.
Talk about your time in the army.
I was drafted in 1964. In the army, I went to Fort Dix (exit 7 in New Jersey) and trained to be a soldier for 3 months. Then went to Texas to train to be a medic. Trained for 3 months. Then got on a plane, flew to New York, got on a ship, and went to Germany.
I  was in Germany for 18 months. While I was there I drove an ambulance.
One thing you learn in the army is always become close with the cooks. There's nothing like laying in your bunk and the cook coming in and saying "here you go doc, incase you're hungry tonight." It would be a pork chop sandwich, roast beef sandwich, or a steak sandwich. Good times.
Did you have hobbies?
I used to raise pigeons at 71 Van Duzer street. I had a guy in the yard next to me who got me interested. That was my hobby for a number of years. As I adopted different strategies, I started getting different types. I had homing pigeons. Homers we used to call them. You could take them to the edge of Staten Island and by the time you got home they were home already. Then I had flights. They used to fly so high above your head and you would just look at them. Those were some of the best times of my life raising pigeons. It was a very relaxing time in my life.
Where did you meet grandma?
I knew her from high school. We didn't start going out until after we were both working. We used to meet on the ferry. That was a meeting place. Everybody met on the ferry who worked in Manhattan. We started talking there, and we started seeing each other at parties and things like that. We dated for 3 years before we got married. I was 24 when I got married. A couple months after I got home from the army.
What’s your favorite food and color?
Prime rib cooked medium well. END CUT! Through the years we've gone to all these weddings, and the one time I didn't enjoy my meal I asked for prime rib and it came almost raw. So I always say end cut that way you guarantee it's cooked nice. Favorite vegetable is green beans. Favorite color is teal blue
What’s something you’ve always wanted to do?
I've done what I've wanted to do. I've done fishing, I've done traveling, I've had everything I've wanted to eat. I'm not enjoying my life now as I was 2 years ago because then I could eat shrimp. And I miss my salt. It's been years since I had salt. Especially on my French fries.
But I've been to Germany, Spain, London, France, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium, Austria. Maine,Florida, Canada, Pennsylvania, Montreal, Connecticut, Texas, Oklahoma.
The only place I wanted to go but I've never been to is California. Los Angeles.
In between all this stuff, I managed to get married. 1966. And I had 2 beautiful children as a result, who in turn, had a lot of grandchildren.
Tommy is survived by his wife of 57 years, Onia Sims, and their 2 daughters, Cydney and Andrea. He has 6 grandchildren- Clarissa, Kristin (Brandon), Odies, James, Valencia, and Kennedy. He also has 4 great grandchildren- DeMya, Luna, Astoria, and Remi- with another one on the way! Additional family includes his nieces and nephews Tina, Liz, Jammi, Thomas, and James as well as a host of other family & friends who love him dearly. He is preceded in death by his siblings Barbara and Damon

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June 9, 2023

5:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Stradford Home for Funeral Services
1241 Castleton Avenue
Staten Island, NY 10310

Funeral Service
June 9, 2023

7:00 PM
Stradford Home for Funeral Services
1241 Castleton Avenue
Staten Island, NY 10310


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