Dan Sims was born in New Britain, CT, to Michael and Julia Szymczakiewicz on July 1, 1929. The youngest of 3 children, he was the only member of his family to attend college. In 1952 he graduated from Purdue University in Mechanical Engineering. He took a job with Pratt & Whitney in East Hartford. During this time, at the height of the Cold War, he and 2 other engineers comprised a secret governmental research team to develop the next generation of aircraft engines. They succeeded in developing an engine in the 1950’s capable of Mach 5 (approximately 3800mph). Unfortunately the team "outran their coverage." At the time, no airframe could tolerate that kind of speed. The project was set aside for a time when airframes would "catch up" to the engine technology. His next project was to work on the second-stage-booster rocket-engine development team for the Apollo moon missions. The rocket booster he helped create is still in use today. His final project was the JT9D, the engine that powered the Boeing 747. After retiring he and Elizabeth traveled extensively and enjoyed winters in Florida.
His sons are very thankful to have learned Dan’s three most valuable qualities. Dan was an intensely hard working, self sufficient, and modest person. Along with his primary job, as an engineer, he started numerous side businesses to help provide for his family and to use up his boundless energy. He built houses, including the family home in Florida. He started a paint store and earned his real-estate license. Dan raised his sons to be confident that, with a little thought and some work, you could figure "it" out, whatever "it" might be. He had two sayings which he lived by: "You’ve never done nuthin,' 'til you’ve done it the first time;" and "Anything worth doing is worth doing yourself. "
Dan peacefully left this world in the company of Elizabeth, his wife of 68 years, on July 23rd. Along with Elizabeth, he leaves two sons, Jeff and Danny. He also leaves grandchildren, Michael, Anna and Elizabeth.
Bye Dad, bye Gorilla, thanks for everything.