David Lee Grimes

Passed away on 12 November, 2020

David Lee Grimes, a very vibrant and generous citizen of Greensboro, NC and of Aspen, CO, died following a brief illness on Thursday, November 12, 2020 at Cone Health. A family inurnment service will be held at First Presbyterian Church Columbarium. A celebration of his life will be held at later date.

A native of Clarksburg, West Virginia, David was the son of Mildred Leonard and Robert Lee Grimes. Following High School in Clarksburg, David graduated from the University of West Virginia where he was a member of Delta Tau Delta fraternity, ROTC and graduated with a degree in Marketing. Growing up, David loved outdoor recreation, fishing and overnight trips with his father. Noticing his father always did the cooking, culinary interests were being planted in David which would grow into a passion for the rest of his life. “My first selling experience was peddling fresh vegetables grown from my father’s garden to the neighborhood from my little red wagon.”

In March of 1967, David started his business opening Potpourri, a unique gift store, in Friendly Shopping Center, Greensboro, NC. Driven by David’s success, Potpourri became the leading small business anchor stores of Friendly shopping center. David presented business plans to expand to three more stores, which the center approved and built. David opened Greetings Galore, Reed Runners and Hickory Farms.

In 1967, David began publishing cookbooks. Realizing the need to enhance the shopper’s culinary experiences, his first publication was “Fondue Cook-In.” Ultimately, he published 165 titles which was the jumping off point to start Potpourri Press. David grew the company into a successful wholesale business selling uniquely designed items driven by David and Joann’s creative genius. They went on to build a global business traveling all over the world to source and design products.

Preceding him in death were his parents and sister, Mary Alice Farrar.

Survivors include his wife of 45 years Joann Gaddy Grimes; daughters, Christy Grimes Angle (Steve), Emil Burns Mitchell, Lisa Grimes Deck (Joe), Trenna Burns Fulle (Bill); sister, Ruthanne Herold (Mike); seven grandchildren and six great grandchildren.

Too many to enumerate, David’s benevolences in time, energy, and philanthropy can be summed up in one of his favorite quotes, “it is the joy of life.”

Among his joys was his strong leadership with the Salvation Army of Greater Greensboro, Greensboro Urban Ministry, Duke Cancer Institute, United Way of Greater Greensboro, and Greensboro Habitat for Humanity. David and Joann were honored by receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award from United Way of Greater Greensboro, The Shingleton Award from Duke Cancer Institute, and recognized as members of the William Booth Society for the Salvation Army of Greater Greensboro. He and Joann were very active with foreign missions through New Directions Ministries and established clinics and churches in Haiti and India. Among his other community activities, David was the president of Greensboro Rotary and member of the Rotary Club of Aspen as well as being recognized as a Paul Harris Fellow. With the love of skiing, David and Joann became part of the Aspen community where they became involved and took full advantage of social and educational programs. They were inspired by learning opportunities at the Aspen Institute, the Society of Fellows, and the Aspen Music Festival. David loved music and he enjoyed singing and playing the trombone.

Joann and David embarked upon a whirlwind life of travel, culinary, music and art appreciation, which also included skiing, hiking, and international bike rides. This led to the establishment of the “Joann Gaddy Grimes Bike Ride to Fight Cancer.”

David often reflected, “I was led to the Lord” in the early 70’s, and his life changed dramatically. Reading the Bible cover to cover multiple times, he lived by one of his favorite verses,” To whom much is given, much is expected.” He was a longstanding member of First Presbyterian Church of Greensboro, NC.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Salvation Army of Greater Greensboro, Greensboro Urban Ministry, or Greensboro Habitat for Humanity.

Online condolences can be made through


David Lee Grimes

have a memory or condolence to add?

arthur ralph

December 5, 2020

joann. always enjoyed spending time with both of you at the nell or gorsuch he was a mench will be missed

Brent Miller

November 29, 2020

I met David years ago when I first came to Aspen. We decided to take a hike up the Upper Lost Man trail. David insisted we take wine and cheese and I insisted on granola bars and grapes. After some argument, he won. Hours later, we sat in the sun sipping wine and eating cheese and I admitted to him that he was most certainly right. That day is seared in my memory forever as is David, a sweet and gentle soul.

My deepest condolences to Joann and to all those that loved David.

Brent & Sissy Miller

Gayle Bock Roddy

November 29, 2020

Dear Joann,
We were so sad to hear the news about David. He was a man of great character, intellect and humor. A true gentleman.
We send you prayers and love.
With Affection,
David Roddy &
Gayle Bock

Jay and Patti Webster

November 20, 2020

Dearest Joann and Family,
We mourn the loss of your beloved David. He was a true “southern gentleman”. We greatly enjoyed the many special occasions and celebrations with you here in Aspen. We deeply admired David and all his accomplishments. He will be greatly missed by his many friends and acquaintances in the Aspen community. We will always hold David’s memory in our hearts. Our love goes out to you.
Yours truly,
Jay and Patti Webster

Neil Belenky

November 19, 2020

Dear Joann:
Both David and you have been an extraordinary gift to our community. What the two of you have accomplished will sustain the lives of our least fortunate for many years into the future even though David is no longer with us.

Beyond being philanthropists, you each gave of your time and talents to make better the organizations you cared about. That puts the two of you in company shared by a small group of people.

Personally I will always be grateful for Davids support of me professionally, and the help you gave our family when our son needed access to the best medical care.

The two of you will always have a special place in my heart - Neil Belenky.

Joel Cudworth

November 16, 2020

I always thought David was a wonderful caring person. He proved this to me one night when we were at the jazz music on Thursday nights at Green Valley Grill. This was after Emil had suffered her loss of her beloved . Joann and I sat on the couch taking and when we got up David took my arm and my hand and thanked me profusely for keeping an eye on his daughter. This is the sweetest memory I have of him. You will be forever missed

Patty Aiken

November 16, 2020

David gave me my first "real" job at Potpourri Press back in the late 1970's! Fresh out of college with no experience, he believed in me, pushed me (sometimes pretty hard!) yet he was always genuine and caring in all that he did. He was that way with everyone that I know of who was associated with him. Being a part of the team at Potpourri Press was probably one of the most rewarding times of my career--thanks to his leadership and commitment to his team. He loved his family, the Lord and wanted to serve others always. I am forever grateful for all that he has done for me, for others, and he remained a dear friend for many, many years after Potpourri! We will miss you so much, David. We know that you are in an awesome place now.

Myron Wilkins

November 16, 2020

I extend sincere condolences to JoAnn and the Grimes Family in the passing of David. David was a great supporter of the work of Greensboro Urban Ministry. He was also a great personal encouragement to me as CEO of GUM.

I can remember my many visits and conversations with David over the past few years, as I sought his advice in how to best lead GUM and serve the City of Greensboro. He was always gracious and wise.

I often, jokingly, told David that I would love to have at least 3 of his any great attributes 1) A Full Head of Hair 2) A Cool Sports Car and 3) A Generous Spirit. And while I may never have his great hair or a cool car, I will continue to follow David's example by cultivating my own spirit of generosity.

David, congratulations on your life and legacy. You have finished well. Enjoy your reward. And by faith, I will see you again, my friend!

Myron Wilkins, CEO, Greensboro Urban Ministry (GUM)

Drayton Coleman

November 15, 2020

I met David and Joann when I worked at Starbucks; they were regulars at my store. David was such a nice man and I always looked forward to seeing them in the store and to make their drinks. I send my condolences to Joann and to the rest of his family.

Teresa (Terri) Gross-Moore

November 15, 2020

Teresa (Terri) Gross-Moore
November 15, 2020

I was hired for Christmas help at Reed Runners in 1969 when I was in the 10th grade at Page High School, I stayed and worked for Dave for 8 years. I went on to also work at Potpourri Press too. I loved my job, co-workers, and Dave Grimes. He gave me my first chance, and I have always remembered him. I saw Dave not very long ago and I told him I was the girl that talked about him and Reed Runners in an interview in the OHenry magazine about Friendly Shopping center. He told me has had saved the magazine for his daughters to see. He thanked me. He was still smiling and kind. He still drove a little sports car and still had beautiful long gray hair. I remember when he had a Delorian sports coup. He was always ahead of his time. Dave was my first inspiration as a boss, I have never forgotten him, I am 66 years old. Sad he’s gone. Dave please Rest In Peace my friend.