James Braxton Simms, 1936-2022

James (Jimmy) Braxton Simms born December 17, 1936, to Anderson Simms, Jr. and Evelyn Elois Smith Simms in Purcellville, VA. He was the third of seven children. 

Jimmy was born and raised in Purcellville, Virginia. As a young boy, he went to Carver School and went on to graduate from the historical black high school, Douglass High in Leesburg, VA. He was in the Class of 1956. He was an avid sportsman in school. He played both football and basketball while attending Douglass and played baseball in the county leagues. He also coached in the Upper Loudoun Little League Football and was a mentor to many of his players. Jimmy often reminisced about his time growing up in Loudoun County and affectionately talked about the people who molded his life, his lifelong friends and especially the elderly. 

Jimmy attended Grace Annex United Methodist Church in Purcellville under the ministry of Rev. Otis Jasper. He always compared every church he attended to his home church. None could light a candle to his experiences of Grace Annex, but he never lost his faith in God. 

Jimmy married Mildred (Millie) Lacey of Marshall, VA, the mother of his children in 1961. Of this union was born, Marlon Braxton, Lacey Martyne, Troy Arvene, and Melissa (Missy) Ann. 

Jimmy was always a hard worker and had many jobs as a young man. He worked construction, dry cleaning business and worked with his uncle, Maurie (Greasy), in the upholstery business.IN the early 70s, he became the first black Police Officer in Purcellville. 

In 1975, Jimmy moved to New Jersey after the warden, his brother in law  hired him as an Corrections Officer at the Essex County Jail in Newark, NJ. He became affectionately known as “Kojak” by co-workers and inmates alike. During his years working at the jail, he developed many relationships with his colleagues. Many of them saw him as a father figure, grandfather figure, friend and confidante. There he worked until his retirement in April 2011 when he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma cancer. 

He remarried in 2001 and raised three stepchildren, Ahmid, Al-Nisa and Anthony. 

He stayed in New Jersey until his final visit to Virginia to see his family in June of last year. It was at that time that he became too ill to return. He remained under the loving care of his two daughters, Lacey and Missy until he took his final breath at Inova Rehab in Leesburg, VA while holding his dear sister Vivian’s hand. 

Jimmy was a no-nonsense type of person. He was just as comfortable in a pair of old holey jeans as he was in his uniform or a three piece suit with his hat, cufflinks and suspenders. He treated everyone with dignity and respect from the homeless people on the streets that he cared about and gave money and odd jobs around the house to the inmates he was assigned to senior leadership and the dignitaries he was associated with. 

Some of Jimmy’s hobbies included watching and playing golf, cooking, watching old western movies and a variety of cooking channels, reading the newspaper and going to yard sales and estate sales. He would read every section of any newspaper and kept up with current events in which he enjoyed discussing. He enjoyed watching the history channel and learning past history and also debating it’s importance. He loved the game of golf which stemmed from being a caddy at the local segregated golf club. He and his golf buddies would play golf at every opportunity. He developed a love for cooking and it remained with him always. He catered many dinner parties and functions for others during the holidays where he cooked and deep fried turkeys for people who asked because Jimmy could never say no to anyone. Because of his love for cooking, Jimmy’s dream was to own his own restaurant. Jimmy hosted an annual cookout for about 18 years where he blocked off the city street in front of his home to host neighbors, friends and family. Hundreds of people would attend every year. These cookouts became legendary. He shopped, prepped, cooked, grilled and baked so everyone could have a great time. 

Jimmy was preceded in death by his parents Anderson Jr. and Evelyn Simms. His sister Betty Collier (Albert). He leaves to mourn, his children Marlon (Adeline)Simms, Alexandria, VA, Lacey (Rico-deceased) Simms Grayson, St. Louis, VA, Troy Simms, Purcellville, VA, Melissa (Michael Sr.) Quarles, Stafford, VA, his stepchildren Ahmid Douglas, Mcdonough, GA, Al-Nisa Williams, Locust Grove, GA, Anthony Drakeford, Vauxhall, NJ. His siblings Reginald (Marion)Simms, Vivian Ramey (Clayton-deceased), Marvin (Tommy) (Marie) Simms, Larry (Patricia) Simms all of Purcellville, VA, and Ronnie Simms, Fuquay Varina, NC. His first wife Millie Simms, with whom he remained friends. His grandchildren Akere’ and Hugh-Brent Simms, and Brandon Grayson, step-grandchildren Michael Jr. (Crystal) and Marcus (Tiffany) Quarles, Makai Williams, Anaiya, Alani and Tashawn Drakeford, two great grandchildren and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. 

Viewing and visitation will be held on Saturday, March 26, 2022, at 10:00 a.m. followed by funeral services at 11:00 a.m. at First Mt. Olive Baptist Church, 216 Loudoun Street, Leesburg, VA 20175. 

Interment – Grace Annex United Meth- odist Church, Lincoln, VA 

[Lyles Funeral Service]

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