July 29, 1927 – March 08, 2016
Lillian Mary Sims, nee Hitchcock, was born at home on July 29, 1927 in Ortonville,
New Brunswick, a very picturesque potato growing area in Canada’s stunning Maritimes. She was a middle daughter of eight siblings- Mildred, Jasper, Muriel, Charlotte, Lillian, Katherine, Victor and Stirling and was pre-deceased by Mildred, Jasper, Muriel, Charlotte and Victor. Lillian’s parents, Victor Hitchcock & Ethel (nee Waldron) Hitchcock provided a very principled and loving environment for their family, qualities that Lillian instilled in her own children: William, Lee, Roline, Lois, Dawn, Cherrie and Nyra-Lynn (deceased 1974).
On leaving home in the late 1940’s, Lillian worked with children in an Ottawa orphanage, creating memories that she cherished and valued throughout her entire life. She met the love of her life while working in Ottawa, Rollins Dean Sims and they were married on August 12, 1950. Soon afterward, Rollins was transferred with the RCAF to a posting in Whitehorse, Yukon, where they resided until the fall of 1954 when Rollins was transferred to Metz, France. Lillian’s years in the Yukon were very happy ones, she hunted, fished, camped and skied right along with her husband, loving the northern weather and abundance of sunshine in the summer. While in Whitehorse, Rollins caught the largest salmon ever recorded for the Yukon River (around 95 lbs) and much to Lillian’s chagrin it took up the entire bathtub until she canned it! William came to live with Lillian and his father in 1951 at the age of five, soon realizing that Lillian loved him as her own, it never wavering over the years as her own children came along. Her first daughter, Lee, was born in Oct. 1954 in New Brunswick, Lillian having stayed with her mother in Ortonville, N.B. before sailing to France with William and Lee to join Rollins who had gone on ahead. The year and a half spent in Europe was both enriching and intriguing- so many iconic sites to visit and new friends to nurture. On the 12th anniversary of D-Day, Lillian and her family sailed home to Canada on June 6, 1956 to a new RCAF posting in Trenton, Ontario, living in both Exeter and Seaforth, before being transferred to St. Jean, Quebec in the summer of 1957 where the family resided in Iberville, in St. Alexandre on a farm and then in St. Jean. Lillian moved many times over the years, but never complained, always totally supportive of her husband’s RCAF career. While enjoying farm life in St. Alexandre, Que., Lillian’s second daughter, Roline, was born in Lachine, Que. in Oct. 1957 and then, Lois in Lachine in Aug. 1959. Another military transfer came in the fall of 1959 when Lillian moved back to her home province, Rollins being transferred to
St. Margarets and then RCAF Chatham, N.B.
Lillian never worked outside of the home, however, she relished her role of a loving mother, always open to any communication with her children. She taught all of them the art of unconditional love, she being the touchstone for the entire family. The New Brunswick years of 1959-1965 were pleasant ones. Lillian greatly enjoyed the call of the outdoors! She loved a good snowstorm or thunderstorm, organized many family picnics, relished her days of hunting and fishing with her husband and son, and was famous for her berry picking and delicious pies that she baked while camping by a lake. She was always happy, too, to share her pies with a nearby camper. Her family were great fans of her fried chicken and glazed donuts! Many wonderful lobster dinners were put on in her home for friends and members of her husband’s scuba diving club.
The summer of 1965 brought the last RCAF transfer for Rollins to ‘very chilly’ Cold Lake, Alberta, where Dawn was born in Nov. 1965. Rollins broke more hunting records while in Alberta, bagging the largest buck mule deer to date! Had Lillian been able to join Rollins on this hunting trip, perhaps she’d have held the record! Rollins finally retired to private life in the summer of 1966 and the family moved to Sidney, B.C. on Vancouver Island to be close to her husband’s parents, a couple that Lillian dearly loved. Sidney life brought Lillian her second earthquake experience, her first having been in the Yukon in the early 1950’s. At that time her son, Bill, ran into the master bedroom yelling, ‘A bear is trying to get into the house!’ Lillian replied, ‘Don’t worry about it, Bill, it’s just an earthquake!’ Her second earthquake in Sidney did get her attention, the home and driveway having been damaged, so as soon as possible, she was glad to leave shaky ground in 1969 to live in 100 Mile House, B.C. The family resided in Gateway near 100 Mile House with Rollins’ father where they welcomed the birth of, Cherrie, their fifth daughter, in Nov. 1969. Shortly thereafter, in the spring of 1971, Lillian and Rollins bought a ranch in Falkland, B.C. where they began their ranching years. While living in Falkland, Lillian’s last daughter, Nyra-Lynn, was welcomed in Oct. 1972. The Falkland ranch was sold and Lillian was off yet again to a new home and ranch near Burns Lake, B.C. in the autumn of 1973, this being one of two ranches in the area that they managed until moving back to 100 Mile House in the spring of 1980.
Tragedy struck the family the following spring when Nyra-Lynn suddenly passed away in May of 1974. As time passed, Lillian regained her zest for life, thoroughly enjoying the bright, happy Hereford faces each spring, as she very willingly took part in all of the work that went with it. She loved the peaceful wide-open spaces of ranch life and gained much inspiration for her beautiful poetry.
In 1980, some of the family started to leave home and also because of Rollins’ declining health, Lillian and Rollins decided that it was time to move back to 100 Mile House to be closer to family. They purchased a parcel of land near Forest Grove and with the help of family built a new home and lived there very happily. After the passing of Lillian’s husband Rollins in Jan. 1987, Lillian remained on the property alone, chopping wood and caring for pets until she moved into a new home at 103 Mile Lake in 1993. Finally, after many years of having the life of a bonafide gypsy, Lillian was settled and remained in the same house until her passing on March 8, 2016.
While being in her 103 Mile Lake home for some 23 years, Lillian enjoyed her growing family which includes a number of great great grandchildren. For many years, Lillian valued her many visits from family and friends, which included several wonderful people from home care who made her final years both very joyful and meaningful. She loved playing Chinese Checkers with the home support people, and not only because she won 90% of the time!! When her granddaughters came to visit, they immediately made tea, so that Lillian could have the pleasure of reading their tea leaves.
Lillian will be fondly remembered for her sharp wit, her amazing memory for dates and details, and for her wildly humorous sayings. Her large family was her focus, and her loving ways and generosity of attention her gift.
She was a true Matriarch!!