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Kenneth H. Sims

Kenneth H. Sims, of Charles Town, beloved husband, father, grandfather, uncle and cousin, passed away Friday, May 29, 2020.
Born April 16, 1927 in Jane Lew, he was a son of the late George W. and Mary Lottie Butcher Sims.

It was in Jane Lew where he began his lifelong passion for athletics, as player, coach and fan. A supporter of all sports, Ken especially loved the WVU Mountaineers, the New York Yankees and Jefferson Cougar baseball. 

Ken excelled in all sports, and in his high school basketball career scored more than 1,500 points – in an era in which there was no three-point goal – a long-standing West Virginia state record. During his senior year Ken was recruited by several colleges, and received a letter of interest from the St. Louis Cardinals, signed by then general manager Branch Rickey. He instead accepted an athletic scholarship extended by Coach Ira (Rat) Rogers from WVU. In June 1945, the month he graduated high school, he was drafted into the Navy and served in the Construction Battalion in Port Hueneme, California and Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. 

Following his honorable discharge, he decided to join his lifelong friends at Potomac State College and excelled on both the football and basketball teams. He finished college at West Virginia Tech where he starred on the basketball team.

After graduating in 1950, Ken began his teaching and coaching career at Charlton County High School in Folkston, Georgia. He returned to West Virginia in fall of 1953 as the all-sports coach and athletic director of Green Bank High School. In his eight seasons there, he led four undefeated football teams, losing only seven games in all eight seasons.

In 1961, Ken accepted the position of head football coach and athletic director at Charles Town High School; he was also an assistant for basketball, baseball and track. He worked at Shenandoah Downs during this time. In 1963, he was chosen as a “West Virginia Centennial Sports Great.” In 1965, Ken was recruited to help launch the U.S. Job Corps program near Harpers Ferry, allowing him to remain involved with education. He ultimately served as their Chief of Vocational Training for 25 years until he retired.

Ken’s extensive civic leadership spanned several decades. He served as lector for St. James Catholic Church for 20 years. He was active in numerous charitable activities. For decades, Ken was a dedicated member of Lions International, receiving many awards for his contributions. He was instrumental in their support of the development of the Mountain Heritage Arts and Crafts Festival. He served in offices including President and Deputy District Governor, and for decades chaired the Sight Conservation Program. Elected to the Jefferson County Board of Education, Ken served for 12 years, as President his last four years until 1984. He officiated high school football and basketball games as a member of the Winchester Officials Association for 20 years and was on the Board of Directors of Edge Hill Cemetery, serving as treasurer, for many years following his retirement. 

In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by his precious 17-month old son, Kenneth H. Sims, II, and all nine beloved brothers and sisters: Hazel Kelly, Pearl Sims, George Sims, Opal Groves, William “Bill” Sims, Harold E “Gene” Sims, Frances “Bally” Sims, Maxine Davis, and John P. “Jack” Sims.

Ken is survived by his devoted wife of 69 years, Yonnie Colabrese Sims; daughters, Kathy L. Sims, and partner Mike Wiltshire, and Bett Sims, of Charles Town, and Barbara S. Harman, and husband, Bill, of Kearneysville; granddaughters Greta C. Harman and husband, Matt Spencer, of Silver Spring, Maryland, and Chloe G. Harman, of Charles Town; surrogate daughter, Nancy G. Broadley; numerous nieces, nephews and cousins; and close family friends, Stan Hawrot, John Lowery, Jack Leslie and Marge and Archie Smith.

The family wishes to thank caregivers Susie Greer, Glenna Carr and Debbie Martin, and Hospice of the Panhandle.

Due to COVID-19, a family Mass of Christian burial will be held at St. James the Greater Catholic Church in Charles Town. Ken’s life will be celebrated at a future event. Private graveside rites will be at Mt. Calvary Cemetery in Thomas.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions be made in Ken’s honor to the Cougar Baseball Team, Wendy Dodson, Treasurer, Jefferson Baseball Boosters, 951 Harry Shirley Road, Kearneysville, WV 25430.

Condolences may be expressed at

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