In Memory

Rick Sims

Richard M. Sims III  December 3, 1943 - December 17, 2020  Laupahoehoe, Hawaii 

Richard ("Rick") M. Sims III, a California judge and fifth-generation Californian, died on Dec. 17 in Kona, Hawaii from complications of a rare degenerative disorder. He was 77.

Born in Oakland, California, Sims grew up in Marin County and spent his summers in Dutch Flat, California, a small town in the Sierra Nevada to which Sims remained close throughout his life. During adolescence, Sims raised Holstein heifers for the 4-H club and earned the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts. He graduated from Redwood High School in Larkspur, California in 1961 and with honors from Amherst College in Massachusetts in 1965. He was subsequently awarded the Charles Rugg Fellowship to study law at The Harvard Law School, where he was elected Class Marshall by his graduating classmates in 1968.
After law school, Sims joined VISTA and lived and worked as a volunteer attorney on skid row of San Francisco. In 1972, he served as General Council to the San Francisco Sheriff's Department under the reform Sheriff Richard Hongisto. In 1974, Sims joined the San Francisco law firm Thelen, Marrin, Johnson & Bridges, where he was made partner in 1978.

California Governor Jerry Brown appointed Sims to the Placer County Superior Court in 1980 and to the Third District Court of Appeal in Sacramento in 1982. Sims served as an Associate Justice on the Court of Appeal for 28 years until his retirement in 2010. During his tenure, Sims served as the Chairman of the Ethics Committee of the California Judges Association, was a member of the State-Federal Judicial Council, and was the architect and first Committee Chairman of the Third District Appellate Mediation Program.
In addition to career accomplishments, Sims is remembered for prioritizing relationships with friends and family. Sims and Georgiana (Gigi) Carroll married in 1975 and had two children: Peter in 1976 and Christopher (Christo) in 1978. Rick and Gigi raised their children in the Sierra Nevada foothills, and Rick dedicated countless hours to supporting his children's various pursuits, from academics, to scouting, to ski racing.

Rick and Gigi divorced amicably in 2003, and Sims married Linda Wallihan of Sacramento, California in 2004. For the next 16 years, Rick and Linda remained largely inseparable: traveling the world, embracing song and dance, and entertaining countless family and friends with their jovial spirit.
In 2014, Sims was diagnosed with melanoma cancer, and he and Wallihan moved to San Diego to treat the cancer with new immunotherapy drugs. The treatment killed the cancer but also left Sims with a rare degenerative condition that increasingly inhibited his ability to walk and talk. Wallihan provided unceasing care during this period, and the couple eventually settled on a coastal bluff in the small town of Laupahoehoe, Hawaii, where Rick spent the final stages of his life overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
Sims is remembered fondly by family, friends, and colleagues for his zest for life, his love of his family, his humor and wit, his passion for justice, and his commitment to cultivating friendships across the social milieu. To those who knew him, Sims was a singular character: equally erudite and down-to-earth, serious and ebullient, acute and self-deprecating. He was also a lover of the outdoors and never felt more at home than while hiking in the Sierra Nevada or western Marin.

Sims is preceded in death by his brother Robert Sims and sister Alice Sims and survived by his wife Linda Wallihan, sons Peter Sims and Christo Sims, former wife Gigi Sims, sister Elizabeth Lorang, brother-in-law Joseph Lorang, granddaughter Riley Sims, daughter-in-law Paloma Checa Gismero, nephew Nicholas Lorang, and a boisterous crew of cousins spawning from the Bundschu family of Sonoma, California.
Memorial arrangements will be held in Dutch Flat, California at a time to be announced, most likely in summer 2021.

In lieu of flowers, the family prefers memorial contributions to the Dutch Flat Community Center.

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01/02/21 10:54 PM #1    

Eric Southmayd

To LInda Walliihan (don't know how to reach you otherwise than here).    Very pleased to have done one of those weird facebooks with you and Rick very close to the end.  While he couldn't get it out verbally, I think we did communicate a life long love and respect for each other.  You have my address - please let me know the date of the Dutch Flast memorial.  I will be there.  And my condolences.  He was a great guy.


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