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Trailblazing architect Howard Sims dies at 82
Reprinted from the Detroit Free Press
David Jesse April 1, 2016

(Photo: David E. Rudolph)

Howard Sims, a groundbreaking architect who worked on many of Detroit's most prominent buildings, has died at  82, a family spokesman said.

Sims worked on designing the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, Cobo Center, the Millender Center apartments, the Detroit Wayne County Port Authority Public Dock and Terminal and the Wayne County Community College District's main downtown campus. He also worked on the School of Social Work at the University of Michigan and on facilities at  Detroit Metropolitan Airport. He also was involved in writing the state's first construction code.

"We've done a lot things that were out of the box," Sims told WDIV-TV in February.

His architectural firm, SDG Associates, is Michigan's oldest black-owned architecture firm, said family spokesman David Rudolph.

"He was very focused and very determined," Rudolph said. "He was a man who saw shape and form and really wanted to make a difference in Detroit."

Sims' interest in architecture was sparked during his time in the U.S. Navy in World War II where he was a Seabee.

He earned bachelor's and master's degrees in architecture from U-M. He was born in Detroit and graduated from Northwestern High School.

He and his wife, Judith, who survives him, established a number of scholarships, including at Lawrence Technological University and U-M. The scholarships are aimed at getting more minorities into the architecture field.

"He always thought there was a need for more minorities to be involved in the field," Rudolph said.

Services will be held on April 9 at Empowerment Church, 24300 Southfield Road in Southfield.