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July 20, 2022
Phoenix, Arizona
Elesebeth (Beth) Stevenson, Friend and Colleague of Laura Lea Sims

SAGU has lost a beloved professor at the passing of Laura Lea Sims. Laura Lea felt called to be a missionary to Native people early in her life and in addition to her duties as an adjunct instructor of History and Government at American Indian College, she was on staff at World Gospel Mission. She lived on the campus of Southwestern Indian Ministries in Peoria, Arizona where her duties included ministry to the teens who were aging out of the foster system.

Laura Lea grew up in Kentucky with one brother and two sisters. Her family and extended family meant the world to her. She graduated from Jessamine County High School and attended Asbury College where her father was a professor of music. She later earned a master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling from Western Kentucky University and a second master’s in History from Liberty University in Virginia. Laura Lea was actively involved in Arizona state politics and followed both local and national races and issues affecting public policy with avid interest.

She loved the Cleveland Browns, watching basketball, McAllister’s peach tea, wearing her cowboy boots on Fridays, and the wings served at the AIC dining hall. Two years ago, she adopted a Welsh Pembroke Corgi, Penny Lane, and they became an inseparable duo. Penny accompanied Laura Lea on her daily prayer walks and wherever she was welcome, especially on the AIC campus. On Saturday, July 16th, the two were on a road trip to Ohio to attend a ministry conference and to spend time with Laura Lea’s mother following the recent death of her father. Just before she was scheduled to arrive at her sister’s house in Springfield, Missouri, she was involved in a single car accident in which she lost her life. Penny survived the accident. Laura Lea’s beautiful silver hair, her warm smile, and her gentle laugh will be missed by students and faculty alike. Her sudden death is a reminder of the brevity and fragility of life. The final lines of this poem epitomize the life of service led by Laura Lea Sims:

“Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.
And when I am dying, how happy I’ll be,
If the lamp of my life has been burned out for Thee:”

Professor Laura Lea Sims on the beach.

Laura Lea’s celebration of life service will be held at the Wilmore Free Methodist Church in Wilmore, Kentucky, this Saturday, July 23rd, at 11:00 am.

A rememberance service will be planned for the SAGU AIC campus this fall.


Southwestern Assemblies of God University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award associate, baccalaureate, masters, and doctorate degrees. Contact the SACSCOC at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Southwestern Assemblies of God University.