Life Story / Obituary
The world was given a true gift with the life of Alma Lucille Sims. Alma was a loving and dedicated wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, and a friend to all who knew her. She was a giving Christian woman who always put others first in her life. Her ability to cook delicious meals or lend a helping hand will always be remembered and truly missed.
In 1939, the world was bracing itself as WWII began, and the nation felt the responsibility to roll up their sleeves and help the war efforts. It was also a time in which amazing advancements were introduced: the first transatlantic passenger service - flying from New York to England. People found hope and distraction with the release of the film, Gone With the Wind. All the while, Peter John White and Mildred Christina Church were also looking for hope and joy which was found when they welcomed their beautiful daughter, Alma Lucille White, to the world.
She was born on October 26, at their family home in Mecosta County, Evert, Michigan. Her father worked in a factory, and her mother was a healthcare worker and a homemaker. Their family-oriented faith and hard working traits were ingrained in Alma from her earliest of days. She was the third child of five, and the family grew strong bonds and were very close. They were a family of devout Christians attending church every Sunday.
In Alma’s early life, she attended the local Evert elementary and high school through 10th grade. The family faced some difficult and sad times when Alma’s father passed away when she was just a teenager. But with their faith in Christ, the family relied on the support of each other and friends to help them through the hard time. Alma found some peace when she took her first job as a cook. Little did she know at that time, the passion for making delicious food for others would carry through her life.
In her young adult years, Alma found love in a boy by the name of William Sims. It did not take long for the two to commit their lives to one another, for they happily married when she was just 18 years old. The newlyweds spent their first few years together in Grand Rapids, Michigan living in various apartments while William worked as a metal polisher in a local factory.
The couple soon grew their family starting in 1958 with the birth of their daughter, Virginia. Christina, Charles and Janice followed making a completed and wonderfully full family. Pearson, Michigan gave home to their family early on, but they later bought a home on Ferndale where they raised the children and she lived 41 years. The family also had many memorable camping trips enjoyed on Long Lake and Olin Lake near Cedar Springs.
Alma was a woman who lived her life with open arms. As a mother, she led by example. She knew how to stretch a dollar and valued providing for her children. Outside of the home, if there was a need, she was ready to help. Whether it was a good meal, a hug, or a place to go on Christmas, Alma was ready to supply it. Much of this passion to help others was rooted in her ability to work hard. At times, she worked two jobs to make ends meet. Her work had purpose too - she helped others as a healthcare worker in a group home for the mentally challenged and later as a health aid at both St. Ann’s home and Yorkshire Manor. Her wonderfully giving spirit was especially recognized when she volunteered to work Christmas day to make sure those she cared for had a happy holiday. She even opened her home and generously gave gifts and a place to enjoy the warm company of others. This is just one of the many tokens Alma shared in her love of serving others through her deep and abiding faith in God.
From her early years, Alma had a way with making food delicious. She is known for her homemade meals which included roasts, chicken casseroles, pies, cake and many other delectable fares and treats. Her crafting in the kitchen was so good, she opened her own restaurant on 1216 Leonard at Fuller Avenue called, “Ma’s Kitchen.” It was here she shared the comfort food of breads, soups and rolls which everyone loved. She and William made the business a family affair, for they all worked together. After 10 years, customers were unable to get to the restaurant because of road construction which lasted over a year - the restaurant was forced to close. Throughout life, Alma continued to make delicious pies for local charities and other organizations and sometimes she would even hold a Pig Roast to which everyone was invited.
Later in life, her age did not keep Alma from doing just about everything in a big way. She loved and adored her grandchildren - always willing and wanting to care for them whenever she could. She never missed a special day or a school event, and she was always prepared with an art project or two when they visited. She also made many wonderful blankets and tablecloths for friends and family. In her times of solitude, she enjoyed reading and then sharing romance novels and listening to the old time country musicians (Hank Williams, Roy Acuff, and George Jones to name a few - though she had hundreds of CD’s). And when she wasn’t shopping on-line in her home, she might have been found watching Fox news to keep up on all the current events happening in the world. At one time, she even offered her help making political phone calls for candidates.
Alma did suffer some difficult times. She and Bill divorced later in life, but she kept to her usual character helping him in his times of need even after they were no longer married. She even had him move in with her, so she could care for him before he died in 1991. She also endured losing two of her daughters; Janice passed away in 2014 due to pneumonia, and Virginia died of heart failure in 2016. These times were extremely difficult for Alma, but her family and faith sustained her.
More recently, Alma began to have her own health issues. She suffered from COPD and had a stroke last June. She had a pacemaker and other issues as well. As these ailments began to make her fight more difficult, she was placed under hospice care and died two days later with her loving family at her side. Her passion to lead a life in the name of Christ, her love of serving others, and her incredible selflessness are all at the heart of Alma’s spirit. She will be deeply missed and lovingly remembered.
Alma Lucille Sims (White), aged 77 of Grand Rapids, passed away on Saturday, February 18, 2017 at Yorkshire Manor, in the presence of her loving family. She was preceded in death by her husband, William Sims, her daughters, Virginia Ambler and Janice Ellsworth. She is survived by her children, Christina (Juan) Trotter, Charles (Becky) Sims, her son-in-law, James Ambler; her grandchildren, Shanell (Andrew) Terry and Valerie Trotter, Juan Trotter II, Ashley Borgeld, Billy Sims (Gwen); 11 great grandchildren and many other extended “grandchildren”, her brother and sister, James (Janell) White, Glenda Tower; sister-in-law, Carol White; many nieces, nephews and friends. Alma was a loving and dedicated wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, and a friend to all who knew her. She was a giving Christian woman who always put others first in her life. She will be deeply missed and lovingly remembered. A service to celebrate Alma’s life will be held on Friday, February 24 at 11:00 am at Heritage Lifestory Funeral Home – 2120 Lake Michigan Dr. NW. Burial with procession to Rosedale Cemetery. Family and friends may meet her family at the funeral home on Thursday from 5:00 – 8:00 pm and again on Friday from 10:00 – 11:00 am. Contributions in her memory may be made to Mel Trotter Ministries. To read more about Alma’s life, to sign her guest book and to leave your own memory of her, visit her web page at www.lifestorynet.com