After 50 years of working the midnight shift at the nursing home in Whitesboro, Patsy Sims retired from her first and last job in nursing.
At a Grayson County Commissioner’s Court meeting Tuesday, Sims said, “I’d do it all again,” when presented with a proclamation in honor of her retirement.
Sims took the job in 1963 after graduating as an LVN from the school of nursing at Wilson N. Jones Hospital.
It was just supposed to be for a week while one of the nurses who worked there was in the hospital.
Sims’ daughter Sherri Robinson said her mother has often said, “that week never ended.”
According to people who spoke about Sims at the meeting, neither did her dedication to the job and the people around her.
Roberto Ramirez, administrator at the home, said he couldn’t believe she had been there for 50 years when he first heard it. But, he added, Sims has done more than just put in time at the facility. “Beyond the years, it’s the compassion and her ability to communicate and really give of herself, not just to the individual patient, but to their families as well,” he said. That compassion didn’t change whether that person was at the home for a couple of weeks or years.
He explained that Sims took a fall in the late part of 2012 during her shift at the facility and suffered a hip fracture and broke her hand.
“She said, ‘I am going to get through this and we are going to come out alright.’ And we all knew that she was. Why? Because she has proven it. She puts her mind to something and she makes it happen, gets it done,” Ramirez said.
He called Sims, “Just a great inspiration for everybody at the facility and I think for everybody in Grayson County as to how we can apply ourselves and really make a difference.”
Former Grayson County Commissioner Jackie Crisp echoed that sentiment.
“I have known Patsy Sims for a lot longer than I want to tell you, her whole family. Linda, her sister, about 35 years ago gave me a little brochure that said, ‘bloom where you are planted.’ And that is what the whole family has done,” Crisp said.
He said Sims’ family members are the kind of people who work hard, stay true to their faith and community and teach their children to do the same.
“Patsy has been a member of the same church her whole life,” Crisp added.
“That is the kind of people in Grayson County that make Grayson County great. They take care of the land, they take care of (themselves), they take care of each other and they take care of everybody around them,” he said.
Robinson said her mother’s job at the facility enabled her to care for members of her own family when they needed to leave their homes. She cared for four aunts, one uncle, her father-in-law, her own mother, her own dad and her husband.
“Family members often ponder how a teenage girl from the sticks of Whitesboro could turn out to be a faithful nurse,” Robinson said. She added family members were especially surprised at Sims’ career because she had once poured bleach on her dog to rid it of the mange.
Though she might not have been a great veterinarian candidate, Robinson said her mother did make a really great listener.
“Probably the dearest to her heart was hearing the old-timers talk of their fields, crop and cattle. She says she never got tired of them telling their own story,” Robinson said before the Commissioner’s Court meeting.
She added that her mother was full of good stories too, including some about the struggle to get back and forth to that job for all of those years.
“She said it came an ice storm that kept them from parking right up at the nursing home. She said in order for anyone to make it they had to park across the highway and sit down on a piece of cardboard and literally slide into work on their bottom,” Robinson said.
Slide or no slide, Sims was there. She was even there on Christmas morning when her own three little girls were at home with their father, Dempsey. Robinson said it was hard all of those years waiting on her mom to get home to open their presents. But her parents taught her more about Christmas than presents. “Mother and dad taught us the love of God at home first.”
All three of Sims’ daughters have now followed her into nursing and Robinson works at the Grayson County Jail. Addressing the Commissioner’s Court, Robinson said she was surprised to find herself there and often wondered what she was doing in that position.
She said she realized that what Jackie Crisp had said about blooming was true and if there was one person in the jail “who could see the love of Christ in me then mother has fulfilled it all … she is the greatest.”
Commissioner David Whitlock said he had never met Sims before Tuesday’s Court meeting but he certainly respected what she had accomplished in her professional life.
“About 5 o’clock this morning, my little girl came home, she is a LVN now, and said, ‘Dad I just don’t think I am cut out for this night stuff,’” Whitlock said. “I just can’t believe you have done this for 50 years.”
In addition to Robinson, Sims and her husband had daughter Shawn Bensley who is now married to Mike. The couple make their home in Whitesboro and graced the family with their son Tyler Bensley.
Robinson and her husband, Harold live in Denison. Robinson added to her mother’s family with children Ryan Wood, Donnie Wood, Myndi Wood and Irene Rose Robinson.
Daughter Shanna Iles and her husband Matt from Graham and their children Abbi, Avery and Aubrey round out Sims’ family. Of course, no great-grandmother would want a statement of her family to leave out the great-grandchildren including Ethyn and Jacob Wood from Denison and Zoie Boston from Sherman.
Sims is a 1962 graduate of Whitesboro High School.