On June 1 the world became quieter and less interesting with the passing of Ralph J. Sims III of Chimacum, Washington. He was 79.
Ralph was an East Coast refugee; born in Natick, Massachusetts, and the oldest of 11.
He couldn't wait to hit the road and begin his adventures at 17 years old when he joined the Navy. His career started in Chicago and soon after he shipped out to Japan; thus started a life-long love affair with travel and adventure for Ralph.
Ralph was proud to tell listeners that he had visited more than 110 countries. Ralph had a profound respect for world cultures and diversity — so much so that it got him in trouble. In 1963 when President John F. Kennedy was murdered, fellow sailors said the young president from Massachusetts deserved to die because of his affinity for blacks; well Ralph promptly gave them the beating they deserved. Ralph stood up to bullies his whole life and in many cases, on someone else's behalf.
Regrettably, Ralph was in Boston when he passed and not under his beloved cedar trees in his beloved Pacific Northwest where he always returned. Few people know that Ralph planted hundreds of trees; they were his legacy. He could pick out almost any tree on his land and tell you when he put it in the ground.
Ralph, Ralphie, Rafa and Rafael as he is known to friends and family, is survived by his nine siblings who stretch from Hawaii to Boston to Florida: Maureen Sims, Virginia Clifford, Betty Sims, Kitty Sims, Margaret Sims, Larry Sims, Jerry Sims, P.J. Sims, Jack Sims; Billy Sims (deceased); dozens of nieces and nephews; daughter-in-law Elba Sims; and sister-by-choice, Flavia Heineman.
One of his greatest creations was his son Seamus Paco Sims. Seamus preceded Ralph in death and both leave behind Ralph's sunset baby, James (Jim) Williams of Orting, Wash.; his wife Therese, five children and two grandchildren.
Ralph can only be described as an enigma; no one person understood this complex soul that was forged by the sea. Few people knew that the sailor with the stunning baby blue eyes would pay school fees for the children in the villages he loved in Mexico or that he never met a stray dog he didn't love, and that as much as he loved to travel Ralph would cut trips short to return to the PNW and count returning salmon, a favorite pastime, or plant more trees.
Ralph was like the wind. He could blow gently through your life like a much needed breeze on a hot summer night, he could fill your sails and propel you forward into a future you could never imagine, and he could be a tornado, tearing through everything and anything in its path.
F.D. Roosevelt said, "A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor."
Ralph’s devoted caregiver and niece, Alicia Silva, would tell you that if Ralph were here he'd tell you to "Work Less.
A celebration and gathering of family and friends will be held locally on July 15, 2023. For more information contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.