Former First Selectwoman Sims passes away at 92

UPDATED FRIDAY 4:15 PM — Former Greenwich First Selectwoman Ruth Sims, the first woman to ever hold that office, has died.

Ms. Sims, who served two terms as Greenwich’s top elected official from 1977 through 1981, was 92 at the time of her death on June 7. Ms. Sims is someone who made history with her 1977 election, becoming the first female first selectman in the town. In doing so she bucked the trend of the town’s politics as well, getting elected twice as a Democrat in a very heavily Republican town.

Ms. Sims and her family lived in Riverside for close to 50 years after moving there in 1953. She quickly got involved with the town on the issues of the day serving as president of the Greenwich League of Women Voters and then as president of the state’s league in 1968. She became the first full-time first selectman in town after a charter change redefined the position. Her election in 1977 was even more notable since it ended up in a tie, causing the courts to intervene. A second election was then mandated by the court and Ms. Sims won.

First Selectman Peter Tesei released a statement of condolence on Friday expressing the town’s sympathies to the Sims family and noting the historic nature of Ms. Sims’ election. Flags will be lowered to half- mast and a condolence book will be put in the Town Hall foyer for people to leave messages for the family.

In an interview with the Post, Mr. Tesei said that Ms. Sims was “… clearly someone who made a lasting impression on the town and paved the way for others.”

Mr. Tesei recalled meeting Ms. Sims as a boy when his family would go to pick up his father, a town employee, from the old Town Hall. He said there was a voting machine in the lobby that he loved to play with and that he encountered the then first selectman while doing it.

“She was a person with great poise and distinction,” Mr. Tesei said. “She was a soft spoken pioneer. She was active in the community and and on town boards and commissions and was a true advocate for good government.”

The Post will have full coverage of Ms. Sims’ life and the memories of those in town who knew her best in its June 14 edition.

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