Remembering a Friend, Warren Sims
Warren Sims (tall guy in the middle) judging a Maine Bird Dog Club trial, Fryeburg, Maine, circa mid 1970s.
“Loxahatchee, FL – Dr. Warren F. Sims Jr. passed away at his home in Loxahatchee, FL, with family at his side on December 27, 2023. He was 88 years old. He is survived by his wife and partner of almost 50 years, Arlene Cenedella, MD; his 3 daughters, 3 grandchildren, and a sister. He was a well-known and respected Obstetrician-Gynecologist in Vermont, New York and Maine. He was born in Duluth, MN on February 26, 1935, and grew up on the Iron Range in Northern Minnesota. He had a passion for the outdoors and excelled at training his champion bird dogs. He had an active “hobby farm” in Easton, Maine, and in addition to practicing medicine, he raised horses, gardens and friends.” (Bangor Daily News)
I met Warren for the first time in 2000 at the Maine Bird Dog Club’s spring trial on their Brownfield grounds just south of Fryeburg, Maine. I didn’t have a field trial dog yet…he was to come that summer, a six month old pointer male who happened to be a half brother to one of Warren’s dogs, Ch. Holy Smoke, winner that November of the Grand National Grouse Championship under the whistle of trainer/handler Al Ladd.
Warren spent the late spring into fall months on his and Arlene’s picturesque farm near the town of Easton in Aroostook County, Maine. Upland bird hunting as a boy and later on led him to field trials. His first competitive dog came from Bob Wehle’s Henderson, New York kennel, Elhew Southhill Molly. One year she won every stake in the Maine/New Brunswick trials but one. From then on he had many successful field trial winners, most the result of his own breeding program. Winters were spent in Florida where Warren competed his bigger running dogs in amateur horseback shooting dog stakes in the southeast and gave them to his longtime friend, Pat LaBree to run in the open stakes. Pat and his wife Joanie also headed south from Maine during the winter months.
When attending our local trials, I always parked next to or near Warren’s familiar blue Suburban as did his friends Frank Joyal and Paul Fuhrman. Their kidding and laughs helped ease the nervousness of running my pup the first few times. Warren always traveled with a box of Tootsi Roll Pops for any children that might be at the trials but mostly the rest of us rifled through the cardboard box in search of our favorite flavors. You knew Warren was at a trial when half the gallery had a sucker in their mouth!
Warren and Arlene quickly became great friends to me. They often invited me to stay at their farm (a little less than 5 hours from my home in the southern part of the state) often on my way to the New Brunswick trials in Havelock when the North American Woodcock Championship and Futurity were held there as well as the Amateur Woodcock Championship and Leslie Anderson Open Derby held in Debec, not far from the Maine/New Brunswick border. I visited them during the summer to work dogs with Warren and again in the fall to grouse hunt his numerous productive covers with him. Once, I vividly recall, we headed out on a cold grey morning which soon turned very snowy. We must have moved 2 dozen grouse in the space of a couple of hours before we threw in the towel. I never said no to an invitation to “De Chute”. (named for the nearby River de Chute)
Warren was still handling his own dogs when I first met him but his back problems were already slowing him down. He declined over the years walking with a cane and eventually unable to walk at all. Pat ran Warren’s horseback dogs until Pat passed away in 2008. Al Ladd ran his dogs in the grouse trials. Later Joe McCarl trained and competed one or two others. Despite the pain Warren was besieged with, for years he still roaded his dogs in the summer making a big loop up to the Canadian border with his 4-wheeler…and he gardened. Warren loved to garden. He and Arlene had a big beautiful vegetable garden and often sent me home with Aroostook County potatoes, carrots and garlic, lots of garlic!
I last saw Warren while on an overnight visit to the farm in 2014, on my way the next morning to compete in the Amateur Woodcock Championship. The following year I moved to Southwest GA but stayed in touch with Warren via telephone. I will always remember him fondly as one of my best bird dog/field trial friends. He shared his bird dog and training knowledge, his beautiful training grounds and his many favorite (heavenly) grouse covers. When he couldn’t walk any more, I went alone and reported back to him on the numbers of birds I moved. He always wanted to know.
We shared great times with bird dogs, lot of laughs and God knows… practical jokes that only field trial/bird dog friends could possibly entertain.
I’m betting Warren’s having a blast again in those heavenly covers with Molly, Benson, Shortly, Rudy, Georgia, McGee, PeeWee, Joe and the rest of them.
Condolenses to my good friend Arlene and Warren’s daughters and their families.
1976 North American Woodcock R-U Ch. Elhew Southhill Molly
Warren with 1982 Northeast Open Grouse Classic winner Blue Hill Benson
who went on to win R-U laurels at the North American Woodcock Championship later that fall.
Warren with 1983 Northeast Grouse Classic winner Shortly DeChute.
The Classic was run on the Moosehorn Game Refuge near Calais, ME
and eventually became the Northeast Open Grouse Championship.
1983 Northeast Grouse Classic_Report
Warren’s longtime friend Pat Labree
Winner of the 2000 Grand National Grouse Championship,
Holy Smoke (Rudy) and half brother Pal’s Maverick (Mike).
Warren and Beechnut, 2007
Mahaney Road, Easton, Maine
Warren and his wife, Arlene Cenedella’s farm in Easton, Maine
Ladner Road, “De Chute”, Easton, Maine
Top treeline of Warren and Arlene’s farm marks the Maine/New Brunswick border.
St. John River Valley landscape in October
Grouse hunting on the farm with Arlene, 2012
Training with Warren, June, 2014