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Jessie Mae Hampton Sims

Friday, May 31, 2019
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Mrs. Jessie Mae Hampton Sims — devoted, joyful, and steadfast — left her earthly home and transitioned to her eternal home on May 27, 2019 to be with her Savior at the age of 92. Mrs. Sims was a matriarch, history-making professional, and above all, a child of God. Her million dollar smile lit up a room. Her faith invigorated hearts and souls.

Jessie was the oldest of three daughters born to Jesse and Beulah Willis Hampton. She was born on July 24, 1926 in Arcadia, LA. At the age of 20, Jessie married the love of her life, Claude Sims in Arcadia, LA. The couple ultimately settled in Grambling, Louisiana, where they reared their four daughters, Frances, Ola, Claudiau, and Maria. The family home on Sims Avenue became a haven for many including her nieces, nephews, and countless more who came to lovingly know her as “Moma Jessie.” She was a self-described people lover. She selflessly opened her home to those in need of comfort, support, and friendship. With an open heart, listening ear, and sharp wit, Moma Jessie was a surrogate mother to many.

Her charm and wisdom extended beyond her home. As a young professional in the segregated South, Mrs. Sims became the first black female employee at the Lincoln Parish Office of the U.S. Department of Agriculture — Agricultural Stabilization Conservation Services (USDA-ASCS) in 1951. When she retired in 1986, she had become a beacon of hope for people of many backgrounds, bridging worlds that were previously divided. Mrs. Sims continued to make history as the first Black hostess at Maxwell’s Restaurant in Ruston, LA.

From her home, to her civic and social engagements, to her work life, Moma Jessie’s actions were rooted in her faith. Moma Jessie’s enduring commitment to scripture fulfilled her spirit. Two of her favorite passages of scripture were Proverbs 3:5-6 and Psalm 91.

She is welcomed to her eternal home by her husband,Claude;daughter, Frances; her parents, Jesse and Beulah Willis Hampton; sisters Louise Lewis and Levarne Williams; a very special friend, Eddie Warren; and a host of family and friends. Cherishing her memory and committed to continue her legacy on her earthly home are her three daughters, Ola Prejean (Fredrick) of Lafayette, Louisiana; Claudiau Sims of Grambling, Louisiana; and Maria Sims of Monroe, Louisiana; her three granddaughters, Shameka Hackney of Grambling, Louisiana; Masharika Prejean Maddison (Sean) of San Francisco, California; and Melaisha Sims of Monroe, Louisiana; her five great-grandchildren, Shadavalyn, DaVisha, and Daizsha Hackney of Grambling, Louisiana and Sims and Ayo Maddison of San Francisco, California; one greatgreat grandson, JuShad Hackney of Grambling, Louisiana; her “first surrogate daughter,” Ethel Gray; and a supportive village of loving family and friends.