Evelyn Murphy McNeill Sims died peacefully thirty-six days before her 104th birthday on Saturday morning, November 2, 2013 at Carol Woods Retirement Community in Chapel Hill, NC. Born on December 8, 1909 to the late Daniel B. and Frances I. King McNeill in Lumberton, NC. She was the oldest of five daughters being followed by Frances lrene, Mary Ruth, Emma King and Leslie who is the last to survive.
An enthusiastic student throughout the Lumberton public schools, Evelyn continued studies at N.C. Woman’s College in Greensboro UNCW where she was active in student affairs being elected freshman class
president and to student government posts all four years as well as Senior Marshall. Following graduation in l93l she received a full scholarship from the College of William and Mary to pursue a master’s degree in social work. An internship with the Family Welfare Association took her to Baltimore where she worked two years and also met her future husband, Robert Jordan
Sims a Chattanooga, TN native. Receiving the MSW in ’33 she returned to teach sociology at Women’s College in the fall of 1934.
Married in 1935, the Sims moved to Chattanooga where Bob ran the B.F. Goodrich store. Their only child, Nancy McNeill Sims was born there. Bob’s advance at Goodrich took the family to Atlanta where Evelyn
resumed work for the Dept. of Public Welfare. At the outbreak of WWII Bob enlisted in the Navy while Evelyn and Nancy moved back to Lumberton with Evelyn’s parents which served as their base for the war’s duration. At war’s end the family moved to Kingsport, TN where Bob
started Clinchfield Supply Co. with local partners, the first of several businesses he started through the years, Evelyn continued social work primarily with Tennessee Home Society and Holston Home. Active in her
community she served as President of the PTA Association, Preservation of Tennessee Antiquities, Junior Guild later Junior League and Holston
Valley Hospital Auxilary. A favorite activity was walking the trails with friends on Bays Mountain, a dominate natural geological feature of Kingsport, especially in the spring when the wildflowers emerged.
Evelyn and Bob were instrumental in the formation and building of the first retirement community in Kingsport, Baysmont. They were first to move
there, enjoying eight years until Bob’s death in July 1991.
Evelyn moved to Chapel Hill the following spring to the Carol Woods Retirement Community to be near her daughter and son-in-law, Nancy and Ed Preston, and their children, Julia, Sarah, Anne and Sims, Her twenty-one years at Carol Woods were full and happy. She lived first on the ‘Lower Loop’, then in Assisted Living and finally for her last nine months in the
health center. In every location she made friends with her winning smile, delight in others, and sincere appreciation for all the wonderful help she was
given in every circumstance. She was known for and her longevity was enhanced by daily, long walks around the campus and her vigorous exercise in the fitness room.
She was predeceased by husband, Robert Jordan Sims, three sisters, Frances Thomas Dick, Mary Ruth McNairy Wyatt, Emma King Seyfried Paul, grandson, Edwin Thornton Preston, III, granddaughter, Julia McNeill Preston Brumley George, III and two great grandchildren, Jordan McNeill Brumley and George William Brumley, IV. Surviving her are children Nancy and Ed Preston, three grandchildren, Sarah Preston, Anne P. Waltz William and R.J. Sims Preston Olympia Stone, five grandchildren, Rebekah Ketcham, Charlotte Waltz, Colby Preston, Theodore Preston, and Olympia Preston as well as sixteen nieces and nephews, their husbands and children.
A memorial service will be held in Chapel Hill, NC at the Assembly Hall at Carol Woods Retirement Center on November 21 at 3:00 pm. On December 7, 3:00 p.m.in Kingsport, TN a graveside service will be held at
Oak Hill Memorial Park.
If desired, memorial donations may be directed to Carol Wood’s Staff Appreciation Fund, 750 Weaver Dairy Road, Chapel Hill, NC, 27514 or NC Botanical Garden Foundation General Fund, UNCCH, Campus Box 3375, Chapel Hill, NC, 27599.