Roger P. Grimes
July 13, 1939 – October 28, 2019
Roger P. Grimes, long-time resident of San Francisco, died in the arms of his beloved wife Andrea on October 28, 2019, the feast of St. Jude (his favorite saint). He will live in “that city whose light shall shine from the mountain top, where all may dwell in peace.”
Roger was born on July 13, 1939 to Esther Celeste Hoban and Roger Patrick Grimes, in Scranton, Pennsylvania. He was the grandson of Roger F. Grimes, one of the first motormen for the Scranton Electric Railway, founded in 1887 (bring back the trolleys!). He graduated from St. Patrick’s School, Olyphant, and attended Scranton Technical High School. At the age of 16, he enlisted in the Pennsylvania National Guard; a year later he enlisted in the US Marine Corps where he served honorably in the Philippines and Okinawa. He was a proud Marine who served his country well.
Roger’s insatiable curiosity about the peoples and histories of the world fed his international travels: four trips to Israel; the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand, and many adventures through Europe (his favorite city was Paris, City of Light). Roger’s travels included running the bulls in Pamplona, Spain; flying on the Concorde to Paris; visiting the WWII beaches at Normandy; collecting ancient coins in the places he visited; following the path of artist Vincent Van Gogh (Vincent’s Sunflowers paintings were the cause of Roger’s introduction to Andrea at the Scranton Public Library in 1982). Most of all, he loved returning home to the City by the Bay, the port of disembarkation as a young Marine, and the city he introduced to Andrea. He earned his pilot’s license, flying mostly Cessnas, sharing his love of aviation with family and friends (scaring the pants off his passengers, but always landing safely). In 1977, Roger ran for a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors (he lost to Gordon Lau). With other activists, he agitated for a suicide barrier on the Golden Gate Bridge. A life-saving net is now being constructed and installed. As a dedicated Progressive, he enjoyed engaging with the far right on radio talk shows, earning him the nickname “Red Roger.” He was an active member of the Stationery Engineers Union, IUOE, Local 39, elected Guard in the 1990s; a dedicated member of Gen. J.C. Breckinridge Detachment, and life-time member of the Northeastern PA Detachment, US Marine Corps League; parishioner of St. Agnes Church, San Francisco.
Despite his dyslexia, Roger was an avid reader, WWII and aviation history buff, an amateur painter inspired by Van Gogh and the Impressionists. The sunflower was his favorite flower. His most important accomplishment and greatest legacy is his beloved family. In addition to Andrea and his extended Vossenberg family, Roger leaves his strong and resilient children Michael (Sharon) and Roger Grimes, Genevieve Grimes-Gandal, and his cherished granddaughter Chloe Gandal (they were two peas in a pod!). Roger’s family will always be grateful for the extraordinary care he received from the amazing teams of medical and nursing professionals at Kaiser Permanente, San Francisco; in particular, Peter Remedios, MD, Internal Medicine; Alfredo Lopez, MD, Oncology; William Raskoff, MD, Cardiology; Meredith Heller, MD, and the Palliative Care Team, and all of the doctors and nurses who cared for Roger along the way. He was a three-time cancer survivor whose last years were a miracle of modern medicine, a gift that extended his productive, loving life and deep spirituality. Blessings to Rev. Ray Allender, SJ, staff and parishioners of St. Agnes Church. Love and hugs to Roger’s circle of friends.
Friends are invited to a memorial Mass for Roger, to be held on Saturday, November 16, 11am, at St. Agnes Church, 1025 Masonic Avenue, San Francisco. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the following: Talking Books and Braille Center, San Francisco Public Library; The National Museum of the Marine Corps; Scranton Public Library, PA; National Shrine of St. Jude, Chicago; or KALW Public Radio.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.—John 1:5 ❤️
Funeral Home: San Francisco Columbarium and Funeral Home One Loraine Court San Francisco, CA 94118 Office: 415.771.0717 FAX: 415.221.5761 Attention: Ping Wu, Funeral Arranger
Sincerely, in sadness,
Andrea V. Grimes and Family
- Funeral Mass Saturday, November 16, 2019
Roger P. Grimes
November 11, 2019
Andrea, being your next door neighbor for more than a decade, it was so wonderful to see first hand how much Roger was in love with you as a life partner. Roger and I shared many conversations over the years, and it wasn't uncommon for him to remind himself during a few of those conversations how lucky he was to find you. Roger had such a unique sense of humor...on many occasions, he was truly hilarious without really meaning to be. Roger taught me how to golf, told some amazing travel stories, and he had a great sense of faith. I have mentioned the following statement to Roger on several occasions, and I'd like to share it with you here: "Roger, you have led such a great life!"