Remembering ‘Shorty’ Simms

Published 3:10 pm Thursday, September 21, 2017


Hickory Hill Retirement Community is so saddened by the passing of one of our very special residents, Walter “Shorty” Simms, of Farmville. 

Many from all over Southside Virginia and beyond are very familiar with “Shorty” and his love of football through his longtime relationship with and dedication to the athletics department of Hampden-Sydney College (H-SC). For those of you who may not know “Shorty,” Hickory Hill would like to share a bit about this “little” man who had such a big impact on all those who had the pleasure and privilege to know him.

Email newsletter signup

“Shorty,” arguably the biggest Tigers fan ever, was born with Down Syndrome, and though he couldn’t play on the teams he loved, he was made the “honorary equipment manager” by the H-SC Athletics Club many years ago. He was inducted into Hampden-Sydney’s Athletic Hall of Fame.

If you’ve never seen it, you should. This kind, gentle, yet enthusiastic man was so dedicated and touched so many lives that upon his passing, the post on Facebook of his death and background generated the largest social media attention that H-SC has ever received.

Simms lived his last three years as part of our Hickory Hill family near Burkeville, a resident of our special Memory Care “Van Hattem” wing. 

He died Aug. 31 at the age of 70 and could very well have been the third-oldest known person ever living with Down Syndrome. The life expectancy of those with Down Syndrome is 55.

Shorty’s memorial service will be held Sept. 23 at 1 p.m. at College Church on the H-SC campus.

Laura Glasscock