Carrel Wardell Sims
If Nothing Changes, Nothing Improves
Carrel Wardell Sims, “CW,” the eldest of four sons, was born to Carrel Sims and Elise Challenor on May 13, 1931 in New York City, New York. He was affectionately known as “Shocky” for his boxing skills! He attended public schools and joined the United States Army in 1948. While in the army, he served throughout the Korean conflict and was honorably discharged in 1954. Following his service in the army, he attended Los Angeles College graduating with a degree in Economics in 1958.
CW moved to Houston in the fall of 1958 and by late 1959, he owned and operated his own alteration’s store in Houston. His experience with the textile industry led to a position with Joskie’s company, where he was employed as the first African-American buyer of Men’s and Women’s “ready to wear” clothing lines. In 1967, he was invited to head up the U.S. Department of Labor’s Neighborhood Houston Corporation. As the Deputy Director, he designed and developed job training programs and conducted community forums to enhance community race relations. Those efforts culminated in him being presented with an Honorary Doctor’s Degree from Mount Hope Bible College.
In 1969, CW was hired by the University of Houston as a faculty member to teach Economics. He was among the first African-Americans hired as faculty. During this time, he was a staunch civil rights activist, working alongside Rev. Bill Lawson. He continued on his mission to effect economic change on a grass roots level and was invited to become a member of the Houston Economic Development Commission by former Houston Mayor Louie Welch and later he was asked to head up the Houston office of the National Business League. Under his leadership, over 30 black businesses were established in the greater Houston area. In April of 1974, CW joined the Finance Department of Lockheed Engineering and Management Services at Johnson Space Center where he worked for 19 years. In 1993 he founded Dickinson Economic Environmental Development Satellite (DEEDS) where he established a summer recreation program that offered lunch and transportation at no cost to hundreds of Dickinson youngsters. Later, he used the non-profit to develop affordable housing in Galveston County.
A man with a heart for volunteering and a belief in civic involvement, he taught high school students practical business experience for 15 years as part of the Junior Achievement program, taught citizenship classes for the Red Cross for many years, helped to construct houses with Habitat for Humanity, served as a member of the Dickinson Rotary, was once President of the Hyde Elementary PTA, was appointed a Dickinson Municipal District Judge, and served as a board member for several organizations.
CW was an accomplished musician, playing multiple instruments, but most fond of the bass guitar and piano. He also recorded an album as part of the Manny Logan Quintet. In his spare time, he enjoyed riding his Harley Davidson motorcycle, fishing, performing gigs with his band Something Different, and bowling that earned him a championship ring in 1978!
CW rededicated his life to Christ in 1984. He joined Hope Church several years ago where he served under the leadership of Pastor Roger D Young until his physical condition prevented him from attending in person.
He gained his wings November 15, 2021. To cherish his memory, CW leaves his wife of 47 years, Vienna Sims, daughters Juanita Hernandez (Thomas) and Deyna Sims, grandchildren Cayden, Riannon, Marissa, Angel, Sans, Maya, and a great granddaughter, Terra. He also leaves two brothers, John Sims (Pearline) and Norwood Campbell (Karen) as well as a many dearly loved nephews and nieces. CW was preceded in death by his brother, William Sims.
CW accomplished much in his 90 years and lived his life by his favorite motto “If nothing changes, nothing improves.” He leaves us with many life lessons; be impeccable with your word, a man is only as good as his name, and you can do anything if you have the right tools. May his legacy of love, community, civic duty, and family live on for generations.