EARL SYLVESTER Sims' occupations over his long life ranged from West Virginia coal miner to stevedore on the Philadelphia docks, trolley operator and probation officer.
In between, he also worked as a "honey dipper," emptying septic tanks; as a bartender and as a Greyhound bus driver.
He died Friday at age 94. He lived in South Philadelphia.
Earl Sims, who was born in Claremont County, W.Va., worked for a time as a coal miner in Harlem Heights, W.Va. He was a hard worker who often had more than one job at a time. While working in the mines, he emptied septic tanks on the side.
Earl graduated from Bluefield State College, established as a black teachers college in 1895, in Bluefield, W.Va. It was there that he met his wife, Hyacinth "Virginia" Hill. They were married in 1941.
They moved to Philadelphia in 1943. After a stint on the docks, he became a driver for the Greyhound Bus Co. while also working as a bartender to help support the family, which ultimately grew to include five children.
"All who knew him knew that he was intelligent and driven with a strong work ethic," his family said.
Earl went to work as a trolley operator for the old PTC (Philadelphia Transit Co.), driving the Route 15 trolley between West Philadelphia and Port Richmond.
He moved on to work for the city court system as a juvenile- probation officer until his retirement in 1978.
An Army veteran, he was an active member of the George T. Cornish Post of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in West Philadelphia.
Earl was a devoted member of the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity. He attended all of its affairs and reunions for 62 years.
The predominantly African-American fraternity is an international organization that contributes to numerous social and political activities, including athletics, scholarship programs, the arts, civil rights and others.
"The fraternity was the love of his life," his family said. "You could say he bled red and white [the fraternity's colors]," his family said.
Besides his wife, he is survived by three sons, Richard Earl Sims, John Robert Sims and Earl Sylvester Sims Jr.; two daughters, Virginia "Ginger" Sims-Riley and Jamila Salih-Fillmore; eight grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.