John Grimes, known to all as “Ed,” was at home surrounded by his loving family when he took his last breath. He was 90 years old. Ed was born in Alton, Illinois, on September 10, 1928 to Cyrus Clifford Grimes and Clella Frances (Morgan) Grimes. During the Great Depression, his family headed west to California. They were drawn to Sonoma County by the lure of available agricultural jobs, and eventually settled in Fulton. During high school, Ed picked hops, which led to his lifelong hatred of all types of vines! In 1946, he graduated from Santa Rosa High School where a favorite teacher taught Ed woodworking, a practical skill that eventually became a pleasurable hobby.
On November 10, 1950, during the Korean War, Corporal John Grimes was inducted into the U.S. Army and served in Germany for 18 months in the 4th Division Field Artillery Unit. While stationed in Germany, he was able to travel a bit and even visited Paris. In 1952, he transferred to the Army Reserve, and on July 30, 1956 he was honorably discharged.
In 1953, he began courting Carol Anderson, a young woman also from Fulton whom Ed had known for many years as his family had always bought eggs from her father’s chicken ranch. Carol, daughter of Swedish immigrants, had just returned from Sweden just as Ed had recently returned from Germany. She eventually became his beloved wife of nearly 64 years. As he was about to enroll at Santa Rosa Junior College, taking advantage of the GI bill, Ed was offered employment by the National Cash Register Company. He accepted their offer and was sent to train at their headquarters in Dayton, Ohio. Ed was perfectly suited for the position of Service Technician as he was so technically inclined. Working in Santa Rosa, his territory was much of California north of San Francisco, servicing cash registers and office machines at banks and stores. On his business travels, Ed would find little hole in the wall second-
hand shops where he enjoyed treasure hunting for old clocks and such things, which he’d take home and resurrect. He was the original “American Picker!”
As technology advanced and equipment became computerized, he was occasionally required to return to Dayton for additional training. One such business trip left his expectant wife home alone with two young children. His supervisor and coworkers there thought so highly of him that they conspired to send him home earlier than planned, allowing him to be home for the birth of his third child. His career at NCR lasted 38 years until his retirement, yet his friendships with coworkers endured well beyond the end of his career. The “NCR guys” stayed in touch by meeting once a month for lunch at Coco’s Restaurant.
As a husband and father of four girls, Ed kept busy doing the things he enjoyed. To accommodate his growing family, he built a new home in east Santa Rosa and dove wholeheartedly into home projects, building retaining walls, patios, a patio cover, a deck, and then beds, dressers, shelves, and desks for his girls’ bedrooms. Ed’s love for outdoor adventure began during his years as a Boy Scout and Boy Scout leader. He took his family camping each summer for two weeks at Plumas Eureka State Park in the Sierra Nevada’s, where he taught his daughters to fish and passed his appreciation of nature along to them. Deer hunting and abalone diving with his buddies resulted in delicious venison jerky and abalone feasts. Ed often took his family to the Sonoma Coast to fish, dig for clams, or buy Dungeness crabs. He enjoyed cooking, baking, barbecuing, and canning, much to the delight of his family and neighbors! He even harvested and cured olives from a tree he had planted in his backyard. Those green olives were quite popular, but his peach butter and smoked salmon were famous!
In his retirement, he enjoyed bird watching, researching family genealogy and tracking down his old Army buddies on the Internet. He started a home-based business doing watch and clock repairs which thrived, and in spite of challenges with his eyesight, he continued this work well into his 80’s. Ed enjoyed traveling with his wife. Each year they took an extended fishing trip to
the Klamath River for salmon fishing. After their first trip to Sweden together in 1974, he enrolled in Swedish language classes. He’d been frustrated by not being able to communicate with some of the older non-English speaking relatives when he was there, and wanted prepare for his next visit. Shortly after his retirement, he and Carol lived in Sweden for over a year where he honed his ability to read and speak the language. One common thread throughout Ed’s life was his humor and quick wit. He was the punniest guy on the block! His mother reported that even as young as two years old, he’d make people in the grocery store laugh at his antics. His jokes sometimes brought groans, but he was well loved for his ability to bring levity to any situation. Even in his final years as he battled Alzheimer’s disease, his sense of humor remained intact.
Ed is predeceased by his father, Cyrus Clifford Grimes; mother, Clella Frances (Morgan) Grimes; brothers, Clifford J. Grimes and Harold Dean Grimes; sister, Dorothy Mae Grimes; and nephew, Douglas Grimes.
He is survived by his loving wife, Carol (Anderson) Grimes; his younger sister, Ruth Riggle; and four adoring daughters, Laurie Ballentine (Dave Ballentine);
Linda Grimes; Sharon Kennedy (Craig Kennedy); and Lisa Grimes. Eight grandchildren also survive him: Tyrone (“T.J.”) Reed (Karla Xala), Tanisha Reed, Nicholas Reed (Jamie Burns), Mosiah Linder, Linnea Kennedy (Sara Hall Kennedy), Anna-Katarina Kennedy, Kirsten Kennedy, and Ashley Dengler (Mark Dengler); and eleven great-grandchildren: Acacia Lara, Alex Reed, Joseph Reed, Naydelin Xala, Terrell Reed, Alexis Reed, Anthony Burns, Jordan Reed, Allayah Maybee, Baiyana Zerai, and Mosiah Quintero; and his nieces and nephews: Terry Riggle (Steve Harper), Russell Grimes (Char Grimes), Melissa Tunzi, Anthony McAllister, Curtis Grimes, and Kathryn Grimes.
Family and friends are invited to attend a Celebration of Life service on Saturday, March 23, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. It will be held at New Vintage Church, which is located at 3300 Sonoma Avenue in Santa Rosa, California. Reception to follow immediately. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Joseph Hospice, or our family team, “For Time with Pops” in the Petaluma fundraising “Walk to End Alzheimer’s.”
The family wishes to express their gratitude to his hospice care team, Nurse Laurie, Social Worker Nicole, and Dr. Wagner, for the caring support and guidance they provided during the last months of his life. Thank you, also, to Mr. Duffy Conneely at Windsor Healdsburg Mortuary for his invaluable assistance and kind sensitivity during the days following the loss of our beloved.