Jackie Sims © Enid News and Eagle 08-2007 Submitted by: Jo Aguirre
Jackie Sims, longtime Ponca City resident, went to be with his God on Monday evening, Aug. 13, 2007, surrounded by his “family of friends” at his home after a lengthy illness. He was 51.
The funeral service will be 11 p.m. today, Aug. 17, 2007, at Grace Memorial Chapel, Ponca City, with Father John Michalicka, pastor at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Ponca City, officiating, assisted by Mike Sweetman, chaplain for Hospice of North Central Oklahoma. Interment will follow in Resthaven Memorial Park Cemetery under the direction of Grace Memorial Chapel.
“Baby Boy Smith” was born April 9, 1956 in Oklahoma City and was given up for adoption on May 1, 1956. History information notes that it is undeterminable as to when or by what means he became known as “Jackie Sims.” Jackie legally had his name changed in 1988. Jackie was placed in foster homes after birth and admitted to Enid State School in 1964 as allegedly there were no foster homes available and an institutional setting would have better services for his special needs. Jackie lived at Enid State School (now known as NORCE) from 1964 to 1984. He moved to one of the Opportunity Center group homes in Ponca City in 1984 where he lived until his death.
Jackie worked in the vocational program at the Opportunity Center. He worked at various jobs, such as making chocolate at The Chocolate Factory, screen printing, road crew and in the contracts area. Jackie retired from working about a year ago, but would still come to the Opportunity Center frequently to visit with his friends.
Jackie loved life. Despite all the obstacles he faced in his life, Jackie always had a smile on his face. Jackie enjoyed so many things, but one of the activities he loved the best was participating in Special Olympics. In earlier years, Jackie competed in power lifting, track and field, softball throw, shot put, etc. He earned over 100 Gold, Silver and Bronze medals and had accumulated several hundred ribbons for fourth and fifth place. He was extremely proud of his accomplishments and was honored in 2003 with the Cowboy Country Regional Special Olympic Spirit Award. Jackie also was active in the yearly membership drive for the Kay County Council for Retarded Citizens. He was awarded trophies several different years recognizing his efforts in bringing in new members and raising money for the Council. One of Jackie’s favorite activities was singing for the Cherokee Strip Golf Classic each year.
Jackie loved watching TV and no matter what you were doing, when “Walker, Texas Ranger” came on, you stopped and watched it with Jackie. He loved watching wrestling, “Dukes of Hazard,” watching movies and listening to Elvis and Kenny Rogers. In earlier years, Jackie bowled on the Opportunity Center bowling team where he won several trophies. Jackie also played the guitar and was seen to impersonate Elvis at various events. Jackie loved going on outings and within the last month went to the Jenks Aquarium and three days prior to his death, went to the 101 Ranch Rodeo. He lived life to the fullest right to the end.
Special thanks is offered to Hospice of North Central Oklahoma, who walked with Jackie and staff in Jackie’s journey — their love, knowledge and support were invaluable to the direct care staff who were with Jackie on a daily basis.
Jackie is survived by a huge “family of friends” including his two roommates, Keith Davis and Rodger Peetoom; house manager and direct care staff (current and former) of Naomi Welch Group Home; Program Coordinator Susan Ladner; administration and staff (current and former) of Opportunity Center Inc., Opportunity Center, Kay County Council and Foundation Board members (current and former), longtime friend, Bryan Black and countless other friends whose lives have been touched by knowing Jackie.
Casket bearers will be Jack Adams, Nick Batt, Pat Blackwell, David Bozworth, Mike Doyle, Ray Merz, George Raymond, Rick Reeves and Scott Schaefer. Honorary casket bearers will be Derena Corbin, Donna Wedman, Lois Jones, Theresa Ryan, Beth Kelly, Pawel Olejniczak, E.B. Bays; current and previous Opportunity Center Inc. Staff; State DDSD Case Managers Kelly Pettit, Ann Powell and supervisor Connie McKelvey; nurses, social workers, administration and staff of Hospice of North Central Oklahoma; and ETL staff (current and former). Jackie was a very special individual who made quite an impact in the lives and hearts of many people. He was a good man and will be sorely missed. “If we are loved and remembered, then we live on forever in the heart of those who love us.”
Memorial contributions may be made to the Opportunity Center Inc., 2225 North Union, Ponca City, OK 74601 to help purchase a bronze cemetery memorial to be placed at his grave.
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