Frederick “Neil” Simms passed away at Duke University Hospital on June 6, 2023 in Durham, NC due to complications from acute End Stage Liver Failure. He was 67 years old.
Neil was born on April 4, 1956 in Lynn, MA (outside of Boston) to his parents, Fred and Helen Simms. He spent his early years in Woodstock, NB, Canada and Springfield, MA before moving to Castleton-on-Hudson, NY. He graduated from Maple View High School and then attended the University at Albany, graduating with a BA in Sociology. After taking a few years off from school, then resumed his education at Union College in Schenectady, NY, graduating with a Master’s degree in Computer Science. Taking a Software Design job at BNR (which became Nortel) in North Carolina, he met and married Jane Snead in 1988. They moved to Chapel Hill, NC. Neil retired from Nortel in 2000 to be a stay-at-home dad. As the Internet grew, he formed Bear Island Trading Company (BitCo) to take advantage of this new platform for buying and selling goods.
Neil seems to always take the “path less traveled”. He loved to sail, owning a variety of boats over the years. He was an avid photographer. He challenged the norms by continuing to use black and white film cameras, even in this age of smartphones. He was a promoter of electric vehicles, having not only an all-electric car, but also an electric bicycle and an electric boat. He was a jack-of-all-trades, from building a dock on Lake George, finishing rooms in his house, building a backyard shed to building wooden boats (Coquina was his pride and joy) to tinkering with electronic circuits. He enjoyed following several sports teams including the University of North Carolina Tarheels and the Carolina Hurricanes Hockey.
Neil is survived by his wife, Jane and their daughter Carrie Simms and son Andrew Simms; his brothers Lenton Simms, Jonathan Simms and Alan Simms and his sister Judy Ancar; and 3 “grand-pets” – cats Keo and Ari and horse Raffi.
A celebration/visitation will take place on June 24, 2023 from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm at Walker’s Funeral Home in Chapel Hill, NC. The family will receive guests and highlight Neil’s life in a casual and up-beat manner. Guests are welcome to drop in at any time during the celebration. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Chestnut Ridge Camp and Retreat Center: Equestrian Center Building Fund - Link.