John "Jack" Elmir Sims

June 11, 1936 ~ December 13, 2023 (age 87) 87 Years Old

John "Jack" Sims Obituary

John “Jack" Sims


John Elmir Sims, or “Jack” or “Big John” as he was known, passed away in his Swan River home on December 13, 2023 at the age of 87 after struggles in recent years with health and mobility.


Born on June 11, 1936 on the family farm in the Harlington district, Jack was the apple of his late parents’ eye: Edna (nee Stewart) and Elmir Sims. He attended Harlington School to Grade 8 and Kenville School to Grade 9. He later obtained his GED and attended Brandon Culinary School.


Although his roots are British, Scottish and Irish, Jack was very much a gypsy. As a teen, he left the farm for the bright lights of Toronto. This adventure fuelled many stories of working on farms and in restaurants, and living in boarding houses. When he said, “You know, this one time in Toronto…” you knew you were in for a wild tale, even if it was one you’d heard many times before.


In 1973, a young woman working in the menswear department at the Swan Valley Co-op, Dianne Wasylciw of Birch River, caught his eye. He invited her for coffee daily until she finally relented. They were married in Dauphin on April 20, 1974 and had four children.


Jack had the gift of the gab and would not hesitate to stop a familiar (or unfamiliar) face to ask, “How ya doin’, young fella?” That skill served him well in his working years, which saw him wear many different hats: Farmhand, welder, cook, janitor, truck driver, bus driver, and caterer, in Brandon, Dauphin, Thompson, Churchill, Inuvik, and northern mining camps, to name a few. His summers driving truck for M.F. Wagner Shows satisfied his wanderlust as he travelled to towns across Western Canada. His final venture was working alongside Dianne at Sims Catering, which served home-cooked food at Valley families’ events. Jack took great pride in serving a tender cut of meat and, wearing his signature crisp white button-up shirt, apron and paper hat, manned the carving station at these functions.


Work took him away from his family more often than not, but he spent his retirement on the road visiting his children across Canada while taking in events such as the Scottie’s Tournament of Hearts, WHL and Memorial Cup games, and simply a change of scenery.  


Jack’s favourite things included the Winnipeg Jets, which he was watching the night of his passing; Toronto Blue Jays; Winnipeg Blue Bombers; blue-rare steaks; road trips, even if it was just cruising the grid roads to “see what’s doing”; a full cup of coffee with six sugars; homemade pie; his big-wheeled mobility scooter, which he’d race through the school zone so the radar sign could clock his speed; and sharing stories of his children’s and grandchildren’s accomplishments.


He is survived by his immediate family: Wife of 49 years, Dianne; children Alisha (Chris Hall), Aaron (Kristen), Braydon (Debby), and Sha-Lynn (Manuel Cerda); and grandchildren Jayden Sims and Dalin Hall.


He will be remembered for his sense of humour, patience, and positive outlook, despite declining hearing, mobility, and health that made life challenging. May his rascally restless spirit finally rest.


Private graveside service will be held at Harlington Riverside Cemetery. A public celebration of life will follow at a later date.


In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the Community Foundation of Swan Valley, Box 1509, Swan River MB R0L 1Z0, or invite a loved one out for coffee. Jack would have liked that. 


To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of John "Jack" Elmir Sims, please visit our floral store.

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Gathering of Family and Friends
February 19, 2024

1:00 PM
Swan Valley Historical Museum, Birchwood Cemetery, Swan River, Manitoba


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