Steven Gary Sims
March 23, 1951  -  April 11, 2019

Steven Gary Sims

First Baptist Church
322 W. Grand Avenue
Artesia, NM  88210
Thursday, April 18, 2019
10:00 a.m.
Map & Directions  Map & Directions

Steven Gary Sims passed away peacefully in Dunlap, Tennessee on Thursday April 11, 2019. Gary was born on March 23, 1951 in Soddy Daisy, Tennessee, the son of Lillian and Joe Sims. He was the most devoted husband of 45 years to Sara Ward Sims. A memorial service to honor his life will be held on Thursday, April 18, 2019 at 10:00 am at the First Baptist Church in Artesia.

Gary was a lifelong student beginning with the old Mowbray Elementary and Middle School and finishing at Soddy Daisy High School. He was most fond of his dear alma mater The University of the South at Sewanee. He earned a major in English with a minor in Latin and enjoyed extracurricular activities with the Chi Psi Fraternity. Gary was a proud letterman in both football and baseball for the fighting Tigers. The honor code at Sewanee was a cornerstone in Gary’s life. He believed Sewanee was the closest place to Heaven on Earth. After graduation, Gary was a high school history teacher and coach in Palatka, Florida for two years.

Sara and Gary were married in Nashville, Tennessee on July 23rd, 1974 and moved to Artesia, New Mexico in September of 1975 at the death of Sara’s dad. At that time, Gary joined J. S. Ward & Son, Inc, the family insurance agency and spent his early years under the mentorship of Mr. J S “Grand-daddy Fritz” Ward. His career as an insurance agent is overflowing with customers who became dear friends, colleagues who became collaborators, and employees who became family.

When he wasn’t working, he spent countless hours supporting his two daughters Anna and Abbie. They were his very reason for being. His girls also gave him his second wind earning his most coveted title of G-Dad. He chased his girls and grandkids across the globe to cheer them on in any endeavor they chose.

Gary lived the life of a servent as defined by his faith in his Savior Jesus Christ. His faith was lived out daily in his love for others including his church The First Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Artesia. The fruit of the Spirit was always evident in his daily living.

Gary was never more in his element than when enjoying a crisp fall night at Bulldog Bowl with his friends of the Artesia Quarterback Club cheering on his many Quarterback Sons and their teammates through the years. He never missed a chance to support the ‘Dogs in any sport.

Gary believed in the power of being optimistic. His “can-do” attitude afforded him many volunteer opportunities in the community that he loved. He will be remembered for giving of his time, money and energy as a member of the Men’s Golf Association, Artesia Girls Softball Association, United Way of Artesia, Independent Insurance Agents of New Mexico, Teen Community Bible Study, City of Artesia Planning and Zoning, Rotary Club and as a Board member of the Artesia Special Hospital District and College of the Southwest.

Gary joins his parents Lillian and Joe Sims, sister Agnes Sims, brothers Lamar and Sammy Sims and sister-in-law Louise Sims in heaven. Survivors include his wife Sara Sims; daughters Anna Sims Whitmire and husband Josh and Abbie Sims Butler and husband Tye; grandkids Jack, Beau and Taylor Byers, Saydie Butler, and Jett and Jenna Whitmire; 8 siblings Marlin Sims, Mildred Barker, Fay Tryon, Catherine Heard, Ed Sims, Joe Sims and wife Linda, Nancy Vandegriff and husband Charles, and Patricia Phillips and husband Ray; and loads and loads of nieces and nephews.

His legacy is his large love of people, his simple ways, and his entertaining stories. Well done good and faithful servant!


Sign Guestbook
  1. Darrell Artrip
    Snohomish, WA

    So sorry to hear about Gary. He will be missed.

  2. Gary Parker
    Cleveland, TN

    Gary had only graduated from high school when I met him. I had known him for years because he was our quarterback at Soddy-Daisy. He is the reason I became quarterback at the same school. The story doesn’t matter. I have thought of him often and wondered where he is. Now I know he’s in heaven. Rest In Peace brother.

  3. Issa Tannous
    Houston, TX

  4. Pat Sneed Davidson
    Soddy Daisy, TN

    My heartfelt sympathy for Sara, Anna, Abbie and Family at this great loss. May God Bless you and keep you in HIS care as you face your future without Gary.

  5. Brandon Salsberry
    Dallas, TX

    Gary Sims what a great man. May his memory be a blessing to all.

  6. Mike and Ruby Mahan
    Artesia, NM

    Sara, Anna, and Abbie our thoughts and prayers are with you during this time. I can't even find words to express how sad we were to hear about Gary. He was such a joy he always had a smile and a warm greeting for every one. He will be greatly missed.

  7. Eric Newman
    Tampa, LA

    Sara, Anna and Abbie, My heart goes out to you. I first met Gary as this skinny young fellow from Soddy-Daisy who showed up at as a freshman at Sewanee's summer football practice 50 years ago this coming August (I was a senior). It didn't take long before I discovered that this young kid with the captivating smile and generous heart was someone very special, both on and off the field. My only regret that our paths didn't not cross very much since those infamous glory days as teammates at Sewanee - but my fond memories of Gary will remain with me always.

    Eric Newman

    Star City, AR

    It is with sadness that we learned of Gary's passing. Sara, Anna, and Abbie we are praying for our Lord's comfort to each of you during this time of grief
    Gary and I had a special relationship together. One of business and a special friendship. Even as we grow older in life we still have a blessing of memories..
    May God Bless each of you. Bill & Iva

  9. Tom Tilley
    Louisville, TN

    Loved you Gary.. Will reunite and laugh again with you when my time comes! YSR

  10. Michael Lumpkin
    Edisto Island, SC

    Oh, Sara.... your lovely daughters and you must be in such deep sorrow. I have had you in my thoughts and, especially, prayers since hearing of Gary's death last week. What a fellow! How wonderful to have known him, played four years of ball with him, and, yes, partied with him (and you..:)..). My last time with him was his honoring me by attending the Athletic Hall of Fame banquet. I was so blessed seeing him make the effort to come and wished so much to have had more time with him, but I believe he had to be elsewhere on that Saturday. I love that you all met at Sewanee and then sustained your marriage all these years, raising these remarkable daughters (I was able to see one of them pitch (in 2007, I think) when the tournament brought you all to Columbia, SC). I expect they felt so blessed having you as 'Mom' and Gary as their 'Dad'. We are all so sad this week, and also grateful for our Sewanee friendships with the two of you. In this Holy Week, may we all find our Faith in Christ renewed AND our trust that he truly has 'gone to prepare a place for us, that where He is we also will be' (John 14). Gary is there and may we all look forward to our reunion with the Lord AND one another one day. Much Love to all of you, Mike

  11. Paul Ragsdale
    Roswell, NM

    Our sincere condolences to your family. Gary was my friend and business acquaintance and I always enjoyed visiting with him and swapping football stories. He will be missed dearly.

  12. Mark Pearson
    Artesia, NM

    My sincere condolences to Sarah, Abby, and Anna prayers for quick healing. Rest in Peace My Friend!

  13. Jim Scroggin
    New Braunfels, TX

  14. James R. And Sandra Terry Tolliver
    El Paso, TX

    God’s blessings and comfort to Sara, Abbie, and Anna. And, sincere condolences to all the family members.

  15. Daniel Phelps
    Artesia, NM

    I have no words to express all that you meant to myself, my family, and our church. Your presence, leadership, and example will be missed. That being said, I have the utmost confidence that because of what Christ has done in your life, we will meet again, my friend. Rest in the everlasting arms of Jesus. Until we meet again.

  16. Paul Shuster
    Roswell, NM

    I always enjoyed bantering with my buddy from Tennessee!

  17. Artesia Historical Museum and Art Center
    Artesia, NM

    We are so sorry for everyone's loss

  18. Randy Love
    Wichita, KS

    He has a home in all his teammates hearts ......he gave it all to them and his coaches on the field.....we'll see him again but not yet.....his crown is well deserved....

  19. Richie Crockett and Becky
    Artesia, NM

    A great servant of GOD, and beloved in this community!

  20. Gaile Ramsey
    Hixson, TN

    My heart goes out to your family. So sorry for your loss. My prayers are with the family.💕

  21. Vern Bolton
    Roswell, NM

    You will be greatly missed by all who knew you. Godspeed to you sir, Godspeed!

  22. Paul Alvarez
    Artesia, NM

    My deepest condolences to the family. Had the honor of being on P & Z Board with Gary, he always was a joy to be around, can’t yet believe he is gone. Keep them laughing in heaven Gary.

  23. Carla Kirkpatrick
    Artesia, NM

    My deepest sympathy goes out to each and everyone of you. Gary was a wonderful man. I always enjoyed it when he came to Yeso Elementary to pass out the brand new dictionaries to our third graders. The kiddos loved him! He will truly be missed by many.

  24. Sandy (Dade) McMahan
    Bakersfield, CA, NM

    My heart is broken for you and your family in this sad time. I didn’t know Gary well but every time I talked to him he acted as if he had known me for a long time. Sara, you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

  25. Wayne & Nancy Peterson
    Payson, AZ

    Rest well good and faithful servant. May your loved ones cherish the blessing of your life, love, and friendship.

  26. Charlie and Pamela Sims
    Dayton, TN

    We are going to miss Gary so much. He was such a great Uncle always having such kind words and interested in all the things going on in our life and our children's. We are sending thoughts and prayers to Sara, Anna and Abbie and their families in their loss. We love you all.

  27. Martin and Bonnie Muncy
    Andrews, NM

    Our prayers are with you Sara and family.

  28. Rosella (Lewis)Bass
    Soddy Daisy, TN

    Grew up with Gary. Went 12 years of school with him. Always a good person.



  30. Jose' Garcia
    Marietta, GA

    Gone too soon. Our deepest and heartfelt condolences go out to Sarah, Abbie, Anna, and their entire Sims family. God be with you all and may he provide you strength during this very difficult time. Gary will be dearly missed by all who had the privilege of knowing him. Rest in Peace. - The Garcia's

  31. Jason and Tara Friedman
    St. Mary’s, GA

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you all during this time. He was a very kind and special man.



  33. Yvette Moore
    Artesia, NM

    My sincere condolences to you and your family. May you always share stories and keep your dads spirit alive. He will be missed by many. My prayers for all of you during such a difficult time.

  34. Vicki Swaim
    Tolar, TX

    When Clay called to tell me that Artesia had lost a great man, I immediately thought that Heaven gained a new Hero. Gary went quietly about doing such great deeds. He was a mentor and outstanding roll model to many athletes and many others in the Artesia community. Sara and their girls have all been great examples in many lives. May God comfort and bless you through this journey of grief. You have many praying for you all. Love and Peace

  35. Susan Terry
    Albuquerque, NM

    Sara and Anna and Abbie , sons-in-law and grandchildren, I was sad to hear of Gary's passing.He was a fun person who told funny, entertaining stories. Sympathy, too, to Alice, Rosemary, and all the cousins. Jenny, too. By now, he was more like a brother or cousin or nephew than and in-law. Prayers, too, for his family he grew up with. God Bless You all. Susan Terry

  36. Tom Harvey
    Andrews, TX

    He breathed life into the room when he entered. Really a fantastic human being. Gary will be greatly missed.


    Gary was a great friend and will be missed by MANY!

    Oriental, NC

    Always a leader.
    Many fond memories of our happy days at Soddy-Daisy High School. As I will not see you at our 50th Reunion, I can only see you again in HEAVEN.

  39. Janie, Buddy and Lauren Davis
    Rio Rancho, NM

    We are sending love, hugs and prayers to the family🙏 Gary was a wonderful man and he will be missed by many. Rest In Peace Gary😇🙏❤️

  40. pam allen
    capitan, NM

    Gary and Sarah were to first two people I met when moving to Artesia, that were not employed by the school district. My son, Trey was one of Gary's quarterback sons. Gary had a very positive influence on Trey. As a single parent in a new place, I appreciated Gary's time with my sone more than I can say. Sarah always had a smile on her face and it was a joy seeing her at ball games. The time I spent in the gym with Anna and Abbie was wonderful. Both girls were kind, giving, focused, and fierce competitors. I am so sorry for the loss of Gary. There are not enough words for me to express how I felt about him and all the positive things he did for kids. Bless you Sarah, Ann, and Abbie. I cherish the memories of you all and your Dad. You are in my prayers. Thank you all and Gary for making my time and Trey's time in Artesia the very best it could have been. Love you, Coach Allen

  41. Valerie Carrasco
    Artesia, NM

    Gary, I have so many great memories with u! My deepest condolences to Sara Abbie and Anna! U will be greatly missed by so many! Prayers for the Sims family

  42. Tamala Robison
    Artesia, NM

    My deepest sympathies to the family of Gary. Such a wonderful man. I always enjoyed seeing Gary. His kindness, his hugs, and laughter. I loved to ask him about his grand babies which always lit his face with happiness and a story to share. He will be truly missed in our community.

  43. Steve and Olivia Haines
    Artesia, NM

    Our deepest condolences to you and your family. Prayers lifting you up.

  44. Jimmy Hamilton
    Artesia, NM

    Toni and I will be praying for you guys. Gary was very special to me because, I think I was his first Quarterback son and he would take me out to during the football season and we continued that fellowship all the way through life. I loved his competitive spirit. He was such an inspiration to me. Sometimes he would invite me to his house and I would have supper with his family. He had very gentle spirit and a great smile, he will be truly missed but remembered always. Love you guys

  45. Dorletta Hildebrand
    Tomball, TX

    Sara, I am so sorry for your loss. Gary was so supportive of us; your classmates and friends. During our class reunions or any other time I was around, your home was always open to us. Gary always made sure we all felt welcomed there. I can't recall a time when he wasn't smiling and checking to make sure we were being taken care of. He had a special love for people and it showed. His presence will be missed by all.

  46. Elma Samora
    Artesia, NM

    May be rest in peace.Met Gary at United Way . He always had a smile. Seemed to enjoy serving on the board.a sign and making a difference .

  47. Elma Samora
    Artesia, NM

    May be rest in peace.

  48. Crystal Callaway
    Los Lunas, NM

    I am so very sorry for your loss, Gary was an amazing man and I am so honored that I got to work with him and watch his love for kids and sports- especially softball! My prayers are for peace and comfort for all of you, I can’t imagine the loss you are feeling, but our God is Great and Gary is rejoicing at his feet. Love you guy’s dearly.

  49. Gale Hall
    Soddy Daisy, TN

    Gary was my boyhood friend, always good guy, will miss him

  50. Brandi Shetterly-Kelsey
    Artesia, NM

    You were always so kind to me every time I saw you. Thank you. My condolences to the family.

  51. Brandi Shetterly-Kelsey
    Artesia, NM

    You were always so kind to me every time I saw you. Thank you. My condolences to the family.

  52. Michelle Miles-Harman
    Artesia, NM

    Gary was never seen without a smile and he always said hello to me each time he saw me. Most of my memories of him were at First American Bank when he would come through the trust department to do bank business. Loved his positive attitude and always looked forward to seeing him. He will be greatly missed by this community. Praying for peace and comfort for the entire family. Heaven has definitely gained an amazing soul.

  53. Ray and Karen Martin
    Artesia, NM

    Sara and girls we are very sorry for your loss. Gary was a very awesome family member. He always treated everyone with respect and never had one bad word to say about anyone. He was a positive guy and we are blessed to have him in the Martin Family.

  54. Pastor Joseph Tillery
    Lockney, TX

    Prayers and thoughts are with you and the family.
    Though born in the volunteer state He was a bulldog at heart.
    Such a gift to our community.
    Sharon & I are praying for the family

  55. Joseph Linville
    Roswell, NM

    Loved Gary dearly this was a man that never met a stranger had many Conversations with about the good ole moonshine days up in the hills and family story’s so may god bless you all during this time we will keep all of you in our prayers our deepest Condolences to your family I will miss you Gary love joseph and Margie Linville

  56. Mike & Amy Grantham
    Artedia, NM

    Sims family:
    Please accept our heartfelt sympathy for your loss of Gary. He was such a wonderful person and will be dearly missed. Our prayers will be with you throughout this time and beyond.

  57. George and Susan Holmes
    Alto, NM

    Sara and Famiy, we are saddened to learn of Gary's death. Our thoughts and prayers go out to you at this very difficult time. May your memories sustain you and help you find some peace. Gary was such a great guy and he will be missed.

  58. Wayne Landreth
    Soddy Daisy, TN

    We were high school classmates and so sorry to hear of Gary's passing. Take solace in knowing you will rejoice together again. My prayers are for your family during your time of bereavement.

  59. Jamie and Larry Baer
    Plano, TX

    We were so blessed to get to hug Gary’s neck last Sunday! It was a very special day for our family and Gary made it even more special by surprising us with his attendance at the installation service. That act so represented Gary - being a loving and thoughtful friend! We swapped stories that afternoon and Gary sure could tell a story. We’re sure Gary and his loved ones are swapping stories now in heaven. Well done, good and faithful friend.

  60. Eddard Avalos
    Las Cruces, NM

    You will always be special to me Brother Gary Ward. Sara, my sincere condolences- you guys are part of my Artesia family that have been and always will be special to me

  61. Carolyn Yother Jones
    Wetumpka, AL

    Dear Sims Family,
    Just wanted to let you know that you are in our thoughts and prayers. I grew up with Gary on Daisy Mountain and we graduated for Soddy Daisy High School together in 1969. He was very dear to me and I will always remember him as the wonderful person that he was. God Bless you all as you go through this difficult time.

  62. Sharon Caldwell
    Artesia, NM

    Sarah, Anna and Abbie, my deepest sympathy to you and your families. Gary was a generous man who I learned and laughed a lot with.

  63. Curtis and Kaye Teel
    Artesia, NM

    Anna and family, we are so sorry to learn of your loss. Praying for God to comfort you as only He can do.

  64. Karen & Ronnie Killgore
    Carlsbad, NM

    Sara & families, so very sorry to hear! Our prayers & love are with you! Gary was such a great man that loved you all so very much! Always smiling helping others & making wise cracks! He will truly be missed by all that knew him & especially his family! Our love to all!💗💗💗

  65. Betsy and Marc Wise
    Plano, TX

    Sara, Marc and I have you in our thoughts and prayers.

  66. Ryan Jensen
    Scottsdale, AZ

    I only knew Gary for a brief amount of time. He is kind and wonderful person to talk to. Our talks about rural Tennessee and Palatka, I'll never forget. He truly is an absolute gentleman. My heart goes out to your family and your insurance family. Warmest regards.

  67. Winnue Hayes
    Knightdale, NC

    My heartfelt condolences to all the families & friends of Gary! He was an amazing man! I was blessed to have met him only a few times when I came to Artesia! I know the whole town will miss him so much! Lots of love & prayers to all 💙🙏

  68. Jillana Burgess Plummer
    artesia, NM

    Sara & Families,
    Our hearts & prayers are with you thru this sad journey.
    Gary was a pillar of our community, a selfless stable volunteer in so many areas. He encouraged everyone, he was always kind. May God's peace & strength surround you in everyway, everyday & every step in this new journey. God bless you.

  69. LuAnn Beardemphl
    Lubbock, TX

    Sara and family, I’m praying for you and fondly remembering my blessing of knowing Gary. I never saw him, ever, without a smile on his face and a great story to tell. Of one thing I am certain, he loved you more than anything in this world and was so very proud of you. God bless you, my friends, with peace that only He can give. Hugs and prayers!

Start Planning Now

It is never too early to start planning for yours or your loved one's funeral.