Eddie Francis Sims, 92, born January 5, 1925, of Apple Valley, GA passed away on Tuesday, November 14, 2017, in Athens, GA.
He was the son of the late Colquitt Sims, Sr. and Frances Barber Sims. He was preceded in death by his wife Kuniko "Terry" Sato Sims and brother, Dr. Colquitt Sims Jr.
Survivors include three daughters, JoAnn Okada (Kouji) of Yokohama, Japan, Linda Cutler (David) of Roswell, GA, and Ginny Iwamoto (Kaneharu) of Yokohama, Japan and a son, Robert Sims of Albuquerque, New Mexico; four grandchildren, Yoshinori Okada, Emma Shioura, Grace Cutler and Ava Cutler; one great-granddaughter, Emily Shioura.
Additional survivors are a sister, Mary Helen Harrison (Pat) of AL; brother, Johnny Sims (Gaby) of Germany; two sister-in-laws, Doris Sims of SC and Motoko Wilson (Skip) of CA; brother-in-law, Yoshio Sato (Mikiko) of Japan, along with many nieces and nephews.
Eddie was a 1943 graduate of North Georgia College at age 18. In 1944, he was commissioned as Second Lieutenant and the Silver Wings of an Army Air Corp combat pilot of the graduating class of 44-H at the Central Flying Training Command's Army Air Field, Eagle Pass, Texas at age 19. His military stations included Puerto Rico, Montana, Edmonton and Ft. Nelson, Canada, Japan, Okinawa and China. In 1950, he obtained his US ATR (Aviation Transport Rating) license in Louisville, Kentucky. Some of the planes he flew included the P-40, C-119, C-46, C-47, and Boeing 727.
In August 1948, he was discharged from active duty in Nanking, China in the morning and in the afternoon hired by Civil Air Transport (CAT); an airline formed in China after World War II by General Claire Lee Chennault. In 1950, the occasional contractor status to the CIA was over and CAT became the bona fide Air Arms of the CIA. CAT was later known as Air America. He worked for CAT/Air America from 1948-1975. He was initially based in Shanghai, Canton and Hong Kong through 1950. Eventually, moving his home station to Tachikawa, Japan. In 1955, he accepted the position of Assistant Chief Pilot and moved to Taipei, CAT Headquarters. He served until early 1956 when he became Chief Pilot. He continued as Chief Pilot until 1965 when he elected to return to straight line flying only. He remained stationed in Japan until 1974 when operations in the Japan/Korea military support closed. He moved to the Vietnam Operations based in Saigon until 1975. He returned to the States and was a pilot for Air Jamaica from 1975-1977 in Miami. He retired and operated Sims Hardware store in Melbourne, Florida from 1977-1985. He returned to Apple Valley in 2012 until his death.
Captain Sims said he was a country boy who had a dream to be a pilot one day. His Uncle Lammie's advice of being a pilot stuck with him. His admiration and influence by his Uncle was like a second father.
A private family memorial will be held at a later date. The family would like to thank the wonderful care he received at St. Mary's Highland Hills Assisted Living, St. Mary's Hospital and Hospice House.
Online condolences may be made at iviefuneralhomecommerce.com
Arrangements are in the care of Ivie Funeral Home, Commerce, GA.