October 24, 2019
Lou Grimes lived a life defined by love, adventure, dignity, and resilience. He was a man of his times having grown up as a child during World War II, not prone to dwelling on life's challenges but always moving forward. Lou learned the lessons of hard work early in life and used the gift to educate himself and build a successful life. He maintained a sense of humor throughout all and was always willing to laugh at himself. He was a loving father, a member and contributor to his community, and a keen observer of the world around him.
Lou was born on November 14th, 1934, to Louis Harrison Grimes and Ida Elizabeth Linde in Yakima, Washington. Loving sister Veva had preceded him in life by three years. The family moved from Selah, Washington, to Spokane, in 1942, and his childhood was framed by paper routes, early adventures outdoors, and the unusual reality of rationing, news dispatches, and personal stories of a world at war. This unique childhood forever left an impression on Lou and seeded his love of history and traveling overseas to new places.
After a two year stint in Clarkston, the family moved back to Spokane where Lou spent many hours fishing with his parents or hunting with his dad and friends. Attending North Central High School during the Korean War, a future life remained undefined for Lou and graduation was followed by induction into the army.
Back in Spokane after his service, Lou met Willean Donna Pledger while on a blind date arranged by lifelong friends Al and Charlene Bremer. Lou and Willy married in 1959, honeymooning at Priest Lake, Idaho. Lou began school at Washington State University where he earned a bachelor's degree in history, with a minor in Russian. The Grimes Gang formally began during this period with the births of daughters Jenny, Kathleen, Christine; and eventually son, Drew.
Interestingly, after graduation Lou successfully applied for but turned down a job as an intelligence analyst with the CIA in Washington, DC. He and Willy could not leave the west. Instead, Lou bought a furniture store from his long-time college employer Bob Neill. He and Willy moved to Colfax, Washington and became owners of Colfax Furniture in 1972. Also during this time period, Lou and Willy realized a long held dream by buying a historic cabin at Priest Lake. Prior to acquiring the cabin on Pinto Point, the couple had spent countless hours at the lake fishing, visiting friends, exploring, and lounging.
In Colfax, Lou valued becoming an involved community member, eventually joining the Rotary Club, Kiwanis, and Chamber of Commerce. He and Willy also became members of Peace Lutheran Church during this time period. Lou enjoyed life on the Palouse and he could often be found attending high school sporting events for his kids or hunting with his dogs. Lou lovingly supported Willy after she was diagnosed with cancer in 1982 and they continued making the most of their lives together until she passed in October of 1987.
Lou remained a community member in Colfax and in 1992, married Arlene Brannon where they made a home together. Retirement did not agree with Lou after selling the furniture store in 1994; he earned his real estate license and went to work for Mike Kincaid as a realtor until he finally retired in 2009.
Lou in his adventurous, gregarious life outlived two wives, traveled Europe and North America, plied inland and oceanic waters in his fishing boats, spent countless hours playing with his dogs, restored historic automobiles, and, most importantly, smiled and laughed often. He will forever be missed.
Lou is survived by sister Veva Hepler of Walla Walla; daughters: Jenny Emsky of Fall City, Kathleen Kozak of Coeur d'Alene, Christine Knapp of Wenatchee; son, Drew Grimes of Red Lodge, Montana; and six grandchildren. A private celebration of life was held to recognize Lou. In lieu of flowers, the family prefers donations to the Whitman County Humane Society (https://www.whitmanpets.org/) or the American Cancer Society (https://www.cancer.org/).