Longtime Northwest sportswriter and friend to just about everyone he ever met over a career in journalism and in the grocery warehouse industry for the former Unified/ Associated Grocers in Seattle. That one sentence can only begin to celebrate the character that Robert George Sims brought to a life of creative inspiration, always supporting and encouraging those who would come to know him as a friend or a family member.
Robert “Bob or Bubba” Sims passed away at home in his Federal Way apartment on November 20. 2019 due to an internal medical condition.
Bob was born August 28, 1950 in Fort Benning, Georgia, to Army Ret. Major Deward Sims and mother Krystyna Sims. Major Sims was in Korea when Bob was born, and when his father returned three years later, he and the family was transferred to Heidelberg, Germany. Bob started school there and spoke German fluently as a boy. After returning to the states and being stationed at Fort Lewis, Major Sims left the Army to attend the University of Washington to earn a master's degree, taking a teaching job at Clark College in Vancouver, WA.
Bob Sims graduated from Hudson Bay High School in Vancouver in 1968 (voted the friendliest person by his peers in the yearbook that year), and first attended Clark College (graduating in 1971), where he studied English and played baseball. At that time, his sister Karen recalled that Bob got hit by a car and had to quit playing sports because of a detached retina. It also made him 4F with the draft board, exempting him from having to serve during the Vietnam War.
After transferring to the University of Washington, Bob earned his bachelor of arts degree in English (graduating in 1973), and then later continued studies in English and journalism at Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA, where he also worked as a copyboy/stringer for the Bellingham Herald. He followed his sister Karen to Western, and the family remained close throughout his life. “My kids and then their kids were his kids and will miss their Uncle Bob,” Karen said.
Before his career in journalism, Bob also worked as a bartender, and while he had several long-term romances and relationships, he never married. From college, he always had a cat, and sometimes kittens.
Retired Seattle Post-Intelligencer reporter/editor Angelo Bruscas remembered he and Bob first crossed paths at Western Washington University’s student newspaper, The Western Front. Bob would later join him at the Skagit Valley Herald (sports editor) and the Yakima Herald (sports reporter), before Bob went on to write sports and arts and entertainment for the Federal Way News and started his warehouse job at the former Unified/ Associated Grocers.
“Bob was an intellectual jock, and we competed on some level every time we spoke, which was likely at least twice a month over 40 years. We shared a love of John Steinbeck’s writing, baseball, and rock n’ roll. He worked with my brother at Associated Grocers, was much more than just Facebook friends with my mother, my kids, my sisters. He even subscribed to my newspaper when I moved to Ocean Shores just so he could read what I was writing,” Bruscas said.
Longtime friend and former Skagit Valley Herald colleague Scott Terrell recalled the quality and depth of Bob’s friendship: “He was so appreciative of his many friends and colleagues. Bob admired the accomplishments of his friends. He would point out one's attributes in such a way as to make that person feel special.”
Former Federal Way News editor Steve Botkin recalled how Bob talked his way into a newspaper job: “I first met Bob when he came to me at the Federal Way News in the late 70s to persuade me to hire him as a sports and entertainment writer, and besides he would really help out on our softball team. He was pretty darned good at all three, especially at first base where he showed off the famous Bubba Stretch. Over the years he became one of my best friends. He held my kids when they were babies, he cried at my wife’s funeral.”
Former Seattle P-I/Times assistant sports editor Dwight Perry was one of many people to shares stories on Bob’s Facebook page: “Bob Sims became a P-I legend when he slammed the phone -- three times -- on KIRO-TV's Wayne Cody one Friday night when he was in the office taking prep results over the phone and Cody was looking to mooch some scores for his sportscast on the 11 p.m. news.”
Bob was preceded in death by his father, Ret. Major Deward Sims and recently his mother, Krystyna. He is survived by his sister, Karen Kerr (Chris), one nephew, Paul Sims (Carla), one niece, Kelley Kerr and three grandnephews (who all play ball) and one great niece. Many friends and former co-workers will miss him dearly.
A memorial celebration of his life is pending interment at Greenwood Memorial Park in Renton, WA where one of Bob’s favorite artists, Jimi Hendrix, also rests.