On Tuesday, January 29, 2019, Dean Paul Sims, husband, retired electronics technician, active volunteer and father of 5 children, passed away at the age of 92.
Dean was born on November 11, 1926, in Highland Park, MI to Dean and Esther (Richards) Sims. Following graduation from high school, Dean joined the Navy on December 21, 1945. He proudly served in the Asiatic Pacific, the European Occupation following World War II and in the Korean War.
After his retirement in 1983, Dean began to volunteer with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. He applied to serve on a trail crew when ATC was developing a volunteer trail crew program in the Southern Region. It’s mission: to assist trail maintaining clubs in their effort to tackle major construction and reconstruction projects in the wake of a major federal effort to purchase lands that would allow hundreds of miles of relocations to routes that better fulfilled the desires and expectations of a National Scenic Trail. Over the last 35 years the Konnarock Crew, as it came to be known, and local volunteer clubs moved hundreds of miles of Trail off of paved public road shoulders and unsustainable grades onto routes that have fulfilled the dreams of millions of hikers. Dean volunteered with the Konnarock Trail Crew for over 30 of those years.
Dean was always a boost to crew morale, keeping spirits high even when the weather or the work was not cooperating. A master storyteller, Dean occupied others’ spirits while toiling together on projects. Dean not only worked on Konnarock crew weeks building relocations, he was essential in working to open the basecamp at the start of crew seasons. Dean skillfully sharpened and rehandled tools before the start of each season, first for Konnarock and then also for Rocky Top Trail Crew.
Dean left many friends. He will be missed.
Please share your stories of Dean in the comments section.