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The Arrows Hit the Mark

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Mr. Sim's Collection being presented to the Opera House

For nearly 25 years Mr. Walter Sims has served our community, working with Fulmer Wells and caring for the Newberry Opera House. As custodian of the Opera House one can only imagine all that he was able to see and do because of this job, the actors and actresses he must have seen and the local citizens he met. He felt in his spirit a close personal attachment to the magnificent structure. As anyone who has responsibility for a building can attest, an inanimate object can take on a personality of its own.

These are the thoughts that must have been on Mr. Sims mind when he gifted the Opera House with a donation of major importance. The gentle man left his collection of arrowheads and Indian artifacts to the Opera House. This collection, which he had personally gathered during his life, was once proudly displayed over his fireplace.

Mr. Walter Sims was born in Newberry in 1923 and died 1998. He graduated from Drayton Street School. He joined the military in 1942 where he served first in the Artillery and then in the Signal Corps. It was in the Signal Corps that he fought in Europe in Belgium, France and Germany during World War II.

When he returned to Newberry, Mr. Sims went to work for Mr. Fulmer Wells and Mr. Henry Burton Wells. He and Mr. Fulmer Wells cared for the Opera House for more than 25 years. Mr. Sims also cared for the Wells Japanese Garden, until the time when responsibility for it was given to the City of Newberry.

In addition to his love of Newberry and of the Opera House, Mr. Sims was an avid reader and historian. His historical knowledge, mainly self-taught centered on Newberry County. This fascination with our history led him to begin collecting arrowheads, points and prehistoric Indian artifacts. Over his lifetime, Mr. Sims collected well over 100 artifacts.

A local businessman commented about Mr. Sims: " he had so little—but he gave so much. He seemed like one of many but he stands above most. He may have had little education but he knew so much. A man whom few of us knew, or even knew about, he has set an example for all of us to follow."

The citizens of Newberry are indebted to this unselfish individual for his dedicated service, for his generous gift, and for his inspiring example. He has re-taught us all the age-old biblical lesson when he gave his most prized possession to the project which he loved.

When you enter the Opera House and see the wall of honor recognizing the generous donors to the Opera House, let us also pay tribute to an exceptional man – Mr. Walter Sims.

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