7/1/17 - 2/14/12
John was the youngest of four boys born in Earlville, Ill., into the union of a spinster school marm and a rough-living traveling man returning to the American Midwest from the Yukon gold rush. His mother, Mary Graham, was in her late 40's when John was born; she was a tiny Celtic/Catholic/mystic whose father (John Graham) had escaped Ireland on a death boat during the 1840's potato famine. Family legend has it that John's father Henry Clay Grimm, (an international man of mystery) was the progeny of illegitimate children of two famous men: Jacob Grimm, of Hesse, Germany and Henry Clay, of Kentucky. John's three older brothers, Don, Leo and Henry, preceded him in death.
John survived a crippling meningitis as a seven year old. He had to relearn how to walk, talk, read and write. His childhood home was alive with tales, stories, legends and myths told mostly by his mother. He was appointed to the U.S. Military Academy, Representative of Illinois, Class of 1939; but declined the honor at the request of his mother. Instead, he spent World War II as a private first class, island hopping in the South Pacific. Upon return to the U.S., he became a professional student via the G.I. bill. He earned a variety of advanced degrees from seven different institutions, including degrees in letters, literature, accounting, and philosophy. His most important was a masters degree in library science from the University of Oregon obtained in the early 1960's. However, there was more education in his life; after his retirement, he went to local institutions taking courses and becoming certified in welding, truck driving and real estate. He was a curious man.
John married Dorothy Martha Pratt in 1949; they had two children, both boys, one who died in infancy. John and Dorothy moved to Orange County, Calif., in 1953, where they remained until the mid 1970's. John became the head librarian for the Anaheim Union High School District and held that post until his retirement. They then moved to Granite Bay, Calif., spending another 25 years in Northern California. In 2001, after the death of his wife of fifty-three years, John moved to Medford, Ore., to be closer to his remaining son. John spent the last nine years of his life living in the Anna Maria Creekside, a facility that was both good to him and good for him. He wanted to express a sincere thank you to that facility and all of the people involved, both guests and staff.
John was a life-long liberal, new-deal, F.D.R., capital D democrat who enjoyed political debate. He was unshakable in his convictions. Enraging conservatives was one of his favorite diversions; he was well practiced at this and enjoyed intellectual debate. He played bridge and was once a ranked master. He also was a published author, having written at least a dozen letters to the editor of the Mail Tribune. He was intellectually adept until the end of this life.
John is survived by his son, Philip John (Jennifer Jaks) Grimm, of Rogue River, Ore.; grandson, John Garrett Grimm, of Bozeman, Mont.;and granddaughter, Elaine Marie Grimm, of Washington DC and Eastern Europe.
John was a gentleman, but unafraid of speaking his mind. A sharp dresser who used a walking stick until he required a wheelchair, he was organized and observant. He looked for the good in people. He held no grudges and was invariably friendly, even to those he provoked. He prided himself as being a common foot soldier, but, in fact, there was nothing common about him. In the end, his advanced degrees meant nothing to him. He was the salt of the earth. He will be missed.