Mary Louise Cittadino Sims was born on September 5, 1931 in Washington, DC to Joseph and Mary Grace Cittadino. She had one brother, Nicholas and two sisters, Antoinette and Ellen. Mary Louise greatly admired her older sister, Antoinette and being so close in age to Ellen, often was caught “borrowing” her clothes and getting into mischief together. Mary Louise’s childhood was shaped by her parents’ Italian heritage. She grew up hearing cherished stories of her grandparents lives in Benevento, Italy. Mary Louise went to Notre Dame Academy in Washington. She loved roller skating, dancing, taking the streetcar in Washington and spending time with her family.
After graduation from Notre Dame’s business school, she went to work at the Pentagon, where she met the love of her life, U.S. Airforce Airmen, Charles Luther Sims. She loved to tell the story of how their offices were situated so that he could conveniently see her throughout the day through the office’s windows. She was very proud of her position at the Pentagon. She often told stories of her workdays spent walking the long halls of the Pentagon adorned in heels, dresses, gloves and hats. On May 11, 1954, she married Charles and settled in Arlington, VA. After a few years off after the birth of her first child, Charles Luther (Chuck) on October 27, 1959 and daughter, Kathleen Ann (Kathy) on April 18, 1963, she continued her career with the Army. Mary Louise was a true pioneer as a working mother back in those days. She balanced her career and her children’s lives beautifully. To be closer to her children’s schools, she transferred to the Military Traffic Management Command in Bailey’s Crossroads where she was the Secretary to the Director of International Traffic. She loved to tell the story of when the General called her into his office, he’d yell, “hey Lou”! Mary Louise’s career required her to become proficient in computers, of which she was immensely proud. She chose the email handle, “Hayloo” as a nod to her days working for the General at the Pentagon.
Mary Louise and Charles enjoyed their busy lives as devoted parents and often traveled to Ocean City, MD with her extended family and to Harlan, Kentucky to visit Charles’ family. Mary Louise loved Charles’ sisters and their children dearly and cherished her visits to Harlan. Mary Louise’s mother hosted family dinners every Sunday and they were a cherished tradition which she later began with her own grandchildren.
Mary Louise retired in 1992 and went on to start her second and most cherished career as “Granny” when her first grandchild, Charles L. Sims III (Chad) was born on November 17, 1990, followed by Kara Caitlyn Sims on September 7, 1993, Jessica Leigh Robinson on September 21, 1993 and Joseph Connor Sims on November 21, 2000. Granny lovingly devoted her days to her grandchildren. She picked them up from school every Friday, volunteered at their school as often as she could and spent long summer days with them at the neighborhood pool. Granny was the ultimate grandmother, she was there for every school and church event that her grandchildren had. She had a unique ability to know where each grandchild was at all times - even in their teenage years! She helped shape their lives and their faith, which was so important to her. All of her grandchildren have hundreds of stories and cherished memories of their fun times with Granny and plan to continue her Italian recipes and holiday traditions with their own families.
In her later years Mary Louise remained active in her church and enjoyed water aerobics, shopping, going to lunch and above all spending time with her beloved Charles and her family.
Mary Louise passed away peacefully on February 14, 2020 at the age of 88, surrounded by her family. She leaves behind Charles, her beloved husband of 66 years, her children, Chuck and Kathy, her daughter-in-law, Connie and her grandchildren, Chad, Kara and fiance Chris Clark, Jessica and Connor. She is survived by her dear sister, Ellen, her brother in law Nick and many dear nieces and nephews.
In Lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Mary Louise's name to the Dementia Society of America. Please see link below.
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Dementia Society of America
PO Box 600, Doylestown PA 18901