Mary Grimes

Mary Grimes, 88, of Oak Park, died on July 8, 2015. Born Mary Jane Farley on June 7, 1927 on Chicago’s West Side, she was the youngest of John and Margaret (Harnett) Farley’s three daughters. Her mother died when she was just 3, and she was raised by her older sister, Peg, and her husband, Art Grandpre. They lived at Congress and Laramie in an apartment building that still stands. She attended Resurrection Grammar School and graduated from Siena High School. 

Mary and George Grimes, who had also lived in Mary’s apartment building, married on Thanksgiving Day in 1947 and raised nine children: Michael, Kevin, Bill, Tim, Dan, Maureen, John, Kathy and Marty. They have 20 grandchildren and three great-grand-children. Nothing was more important to her than family, maybe because she knew what it was like to lose her mother at a very young age. For 25 summers she did everything in her power to make sure all her children and grandchildren made it to Gintaras Resort, set atop the dunes in Union Pier, Michigan for a week’s stay. She enjoyed the beach, built sand castles with her grandchildren, played “Sorry” for hours and hours — though bridge was the card game she really enjoyed playing. She wanted her children and grandchildren to get as much out of life as possible and loved to hear her grandchildren play their musical instruments. 

Until Parkinson’s disease slowed her down about 10 years ago, she enjoyed traveling all over the world, including such places as Switzerland, Africa, and Central America. She only wished her husband, George, a teacher, was still around to join her, but he died in 1986, a few years before retirement. She also lost her youngest child, Marty, to cancer in 2011. 

There was no place in Mary Grime’s life for discrimination or intolerance. She called Oak Park home since 1969 and saw firsthand what destructive tactics like redlining and panic-peddling did to spawn “white flight” from the West Side of Chicago. Oak Park stood up to those scare tactics, and it’s because of people like Mary Grimes that Oak Park is the progressive community we know today. A devout Catholic, she also was not hesitant to be critical of the Church from time to time. 

Mary’s remains have been cremated and will be buried with those of her husband, George. 

Visitation will take place this Sunday, July 19 from 3 to 8 p.m. at Drechsler, Brown & Williams Funeral Home in Oak Park. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at Oak Park’s Ascension Church on Monday, July 20 at 11 a.m. Tuesday’s burial will be private. 

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be sent to the American Parkinson’s Disease Association.

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