The Knoxville-area community lost one of its true treasures on Tuesday, January 4th, 2022. Shirley M. Sims, 98, passed away peacefully at the Knoxville Area Community Hospital in Knoxville, Iowa.
Shirley was born on February 15, 1923 to John Jacob (Jake) Lyons and Hazel Lyons at Bushnell, IL. She lived in and around the Bushnell, Galesburg, and Macomb,IL area for much of her early life and graduated from Galesburg High School in 1940. She was wed to Dale K. Holcomb on November 27, 1940 and their marriage was blessed with a daughter, Teresa Kay Holcomb (Spaur). Shirley and Dale were divorced in 1946. Subsequently living in Bushnell, Shirley would meet the love of her life, Charles E. (Chas) Sims of Pershing, IA while he was stationed at Chanute Air Force Base in Rantoul, IL. Shirley and Chas were married in Bushnell, IL on June 5, 1954 and enjoyed their honeymoon in St. Louis, taking in a Cardinals baseball game during their trip. After Chas’ discharge from the Air Force in December, 1954, they subsequently moved to Iowa and settled near Attica in January of 1955, where they established a family farm. Shirley helped Chas run the farm for much of their married lives. She also worked for many years in the Marion County Engineer’s Office.
Shirley was an active member of the Attica Methodist Church for her entire time in Attica and was well-known in the community. She enjoyed bowling, golfing and attending Knoxville High School Volleyball games. Largely because of the affiliations of her grandchildren and great grandchildren, Shirley would also become an avid fan of both the Iowa Hawkeyes and Iowa State Cyclones.
The farm would serve as the base for many family gatherings over the years and countless family meals were enjoyed by children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great grandchildren at Shirley’s table during birthday and holiday gatherings. Shirley was fondly called Granny the Great, Bag-Of-Bones, and several other colorful nicknames, but mostly, she was just known as Granny. Her compassion, good cheer and wry wit are known to all who met her. While Shirley lost Chas on her birthday in 2016, and had been ill herself around the same time, she recovered and remained healthy and active until very recently. Shirley and Chas always enjoyed traveling and she continued to attend family trips even after his death. She joined in on a family cruise to the Caribbean in August of 2016. While it had been her long declared goal to live beyond her 100th birthday, our Lord apparently had other plans for her.
Shirley is survived by her daughter Teresa Spaur (Jack) of Knoxville; granddaughters Kaleen Adams (Rob) and Angie Deardorff; Great Grandchildren Shane Jones (Amy), Lyndsay Strom (Justin), Megan Wheelock (Brady), Nicole Fagan (Dominique) John Adams (Sofia) and Payne Hoyt; and one Great-Great grandson, Jackson Jones. She was preceded in death by her parents John and Hazel, Brother John Lyons, Sister Marjory Walker and her loving husband Charlie.
In lieu of flowers, Memorials in Shirley’s name may be directed to the Marion County Humane Society of Knoxville, IA.
A private memorial service was held on Saturday, January 8, 2022 at the Winfield Funeral Home in Knoxville.