Longtime National Auctioneers Association member and the inspiration for a well-known Auctioneer song, Ray Sims, died Sept. 18. He was 90.
Sims became a member of the National Auctioneers Association in 1955 and entered the association’s Hall of Fame in 1990. He also served on its Board of Directors.
In a more than 45-year career, Sims was largely responsible for helping shape the modern cattle auction. He was one of the nation’s most prominent purebred cattle Auctioneers, as in the 1950s and 1960s he made the auctions fast-paced, efficient and exciting events.
When Sims began in the business, Auctioneers sold 50 head of cattle in about four to five hours. Sims sold the same amount in about half the time.
Sims, of Raymore, Mo., conducted an estimated 7,000 auctions in his career. He sold livestock in front of Presidents Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy.
For his contributions to the livestock industry, he was awarded the Saddle & Sirloin Club’s Portrait Award, one of the profession’s highest honors, during its North American International Livestock Exposition in Louisville, Ky., in 2010.
Sims was the first Auctioneer in more than 55 years to receive the award, which began in 1903 and is now located at the Kentucky State Fair and Exposition Center in Louisville.
Sims also was the inspiration behind Leroy Van Dyke’s hit song “The Auctioneer.” NAA Auctioneer Van Dyke, of Leroy Van Dyke Enterprises, Smithton, Mo., is Sims’ second cousin.
Sims is survived by his wife, Melva; children, Virginia Daye Sims and Tullis Ray Sims (Carla); step children, Lee Sankey (Susan), Chris Sankey (Sharee) and Hal Sankey (Ann); and one granddaughter, Hanna.
Services are scheduled to take place at 2 p.m. Sept. 22 at Red Bridge Baptist Church in Kansas City, Mo., with visitation from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.
Memorial contributions may be made to Haiti Home of Hope, c/o Red Bridge Baptist Church, 4901 E. Red Bridge Rd., Kansas City, Mo., 64137; Child Evangelism Fellowship of the Greater Kansas City Area, P.O. Box 561, Grandview, Mo., 64030; or Ray Sims Angus Scholarship Endowment Fund, c/o Angus Foundation, 3201 Frederick Ave., St. Joseph, Mo., 64506.