90th Birthday Celebration for Esther Ruth Butler Sims

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Esther Ruth Butler Sims


Envision, if you will, stepping into a storybook with chapters and story lines that garner laughter, tears of joy, streams of remembrance, and smiles galore …… thus the beautiful, historic event on Saturday, February 8, 2020, The 90th Birthday Celebration for Esther Ruth Butler Sims.

Theme: “Once Upon A Time…. The Book Of Ruth”

The South Carolina Department of Archives and History was the venue for the storybook gathering where family and friends experienced Chapters of The Book of Ruth.

Chapter 1: Mingling, Fellowship, Hors d’ oeuvres (Atrium)

Chapter 2: The Occasion & Welcome to “Once Upon a time … The Book of Ruth” (Theater/Auditorium)

Chapter 3: Feast & Expressions of Celebration (Banquet Room)

Chapter 4: Desserts & Departure

This storybook celebration was sponsored by her three daughters, Dr. Marshalita Sims Peterson (Atlanta, GA), Terutha Sims and Evangelist Kemolet Sims Mitchell both from Columbia and their families.

Assisting her daughters who emceed the celebration was her great nephew, A.J Hailey. The honoree, an exceptional, inspirational and effective retired librarian, was depicted throughout the appropriate venue, the South Carolina Department of Archives and History which is adjacent to State Park, her birthplace and early childhood neighborhood.

Chapter 1:

The atrium and halls showed scenes of her life through eye catching artifacts, pictures, and décor reflecting Ruth’s career in librarianship. The setting was complimented with live music including a harpist, flutist, trombonist and bongo drummer. Relatives and friends from far and near, namely Georgia, Maryland, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C. and Ab Dhabi (Middle East) gathered here in Columbia, SC for this event.

Chapter 2:

Mrs. Sims was escorted into the theater/auditorium by sons-in-law Rufus Mitchell, III and Dr. Alan C. Peterson, Sr. The theater/auditorium was the setting for Chapter 2 involving aesthetic and special presentations inclusive of congressional and civic presentations by House Representative Leon Howard and Paulette Goodwin along with a professional presentation facilitated by Dr. Traci Young Cooper. “The Book of Ruth” video production was made and presented by her Goddaughter, Erica Gilyard.

A bouquet of flowers and gifts were presented by her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren – David Henry Mitchell, Deborah Ruth Mitchell, Rufus (Rudy) Mitchell, IV, Kemolet Sims Mitchell, Rufus Mitchell, III, Terutha Sims, Dr. Alan C. Peterson, II, Attorney Chelsea Winters Peterson, Alan C. Peterson, III, Alexander C. Peterson, Alivia C. Peterson, Alana Peterson McJimpsey, Darwin McJimpsey,

Darwin McJimpsey, II, Dalton McJimpsey, Dr. Marshalita Sims Peterson and Dr. Alan C. Peterson, Sr.

Vocal musical selections were given by her three daughters and a creative dance performance by two of her grandchildren - Rudy and Deborah Ruth Mitchell.

Chapter 3:

As we perused Chapter 3 of “Once Upon A Time….The Book Of Ruth”, we were spellbound as we attentively listened to interesting, beautiful and bold expressions recounted through Dr. Bobby J. Donaldson (USC History Professor), Dr. Dean Floyd, Elder Jametta Chandler Moore, Mrs. Robin Jackson (First Lady Brookland Baptist Church), Rev. & Mrs. Derwin Bradley, Pastor Bobby L. Smith (Zion Canaan Baptist Church), Diane Davis Huggins (Goddaughter), Charles D. Moody (Godson - Atlanta, GA), Rev. Johnny Gibbs, Ivy Ruthel Goforth (Niece), Betty Fair Young, and Ronnie Nowlin (Godson).

Chapter 4: Desserts & Departure

Scrumptious desserts were enjoyed by guests and they (guests) were overheard sharing about the wonderful 90th Birthday Celebration - “It was quite befitting for the theme of the celebration to center on books and stories as the Once Upon A Time star, Esther Ruth Butler Sims immensely enjoys the creative writing genre inclusive of personal poetic biography, skits and monologues. Did you know that she has authored over 150 poems? !!!! Yes, she is quite a writer – that’s Mother Ruth !!!!

The 90th birthday celebration extended with very touching moments wherein her granddaughter, Deborah Ruth, provided a video presentation depicting family memories through the years and Alana Peterson McJimpsey (Ruth’s oldest granddaughter) presented her grandmother with 90 personal handwritten letters representing 90 years of existence.

Remarks by the honoree, Esther Ruth Butler Sims, echoed her heartfelt appreciation to all guests and her gratefulness to God for His provision and blessings for 90 years….. her storybook ---


The family Acknowledges the following persons and organizations for the success of the   90th Birthday Celebration for Esther Ruth Butler Sims. And a Sincere appreciation of thanks for all those who came out to celebrate with them.

R & T Catering (Teddy & Rita Spence)

Elegant Events and Designs, LLC (Sylvia Jordan) (Vanessa Harper Cills)

Se’Nai Cakery Couture

Pat Gilyard

Herbert & Sandra Sims

Vanessa Goforth

Kimberly Greene

Lillian Peay

Marnie Robinson

Stephanie Hailey

The Flying Idea (Graphics Design - Darwin & Alana McJimpsey)

Brenda House South Carolina Department of Archives & History

Lisia Banks South Carolina Department of Archives & History

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