FREDERICK T. GRIMM

by George Tanber, Blade Staff Writer

Frederick T. Grimm of Pemberville and formerly of Oak Harbor, an innovative educator and marketer of agricultural programs, products, and services, died Thursday in St. Charles Mercy Hospital, Oregon.

He was 82 and had suffered from Parkinson's disease for several years, his family said.

In a 1975 article, the late Blade columnist Don Wolfe called Mr. Grimm "Mr. Agriculture," noting he was a "vital part of that fabulous growth" of agribusiness in northwest Ohio.

Mr. Grimm, the eldest of eight children, grew up on a small farm in Flat Rock, O., near Bellevue, O. As Mr. Wolfe wrote: "The family milked cows and churned butter. The youngsters peddled milk, sweet cream, butter, and cottage cheeses in the small community to earn money for clothes and other necessities. The Depression profit was small, but the 'huckster' training prepared Mr. Grimm for his innovative marketing program many years later."

He was the first and only member of his family to go to college, receiving a bachelor of science in agriculture degree from Ohio State University in 1941. A U.S. Army veteran, Mr. Grimm taught in Wyandot County seven years before joining the Ohio Cooperative Extension Service as the county's first extension agent. He remained with the service until 1975 and was a highly regarded youth leader.

During his tenure, Mr. Grimm established the Ottawa County Junior Fair Board and was one of the first extension agents in the country to develop marketing programs for a variety of businesses related to agriculture.

"He had a real passion for getting things done," said Mr. Grimm's youngest son, Robert Grimm. "He could lead people in very dynamic ways."

From 1976 to 1989, Mr. Grimm developed an educational program called "Fresh Directions" for S. Metzger Co. of Toledo. He also developed similar programs for the Ohio Fruit Growers Association and the Ohio Vegetable and Potato Growers Association. Mr. Grimm was a frequent guest on Toledo TV stations.

"He had the ability to sense the pulse of common people," Robert Grimm said. "He understood the life of farm families real well. He was able to get a lot done for them through the cooperative service."

Added son David Grimm: "My father could be in a field with a farmer at 2 p.m., could come home, put on a coat and tie, and be a great master of ceremonies."

Mr. Grimm was married 50 years to the former Katherine Louise Stuckey.

"He was a natural born salesperson," she said of her husband.

After Mr. Grimm became ill, the Grimms sold their Oak Harbor home and moved 18 months ago to the Portage Valley Retirement Center in Pemberville.

In his later years, he was active in the Ottawa County Historical Society and played a leading role in the preservation of the lighthouse keeper's home at Marblehead, Robert Grimm said.

Mr. Grimm was a 50-year member of the Masonic lodge in Nevada, O., and a member of Oak Harbor United Methodist Church, where he taught Sunday school and sang in the choir 30 years. He was a member of the Ottawa County Farm Bureau, the Genoa Grange, and the John A. Fader Post 114 of the American Legion.

Surviving are his wife, Katherine "Katie"; sons, David and Robert; sisters, Cathryn Nottke, Mary Ellen Bowers, Martha Robinson, and Joan Woosnam; brothers, John and Hunter, and three grandchildren.

A memorial service will be at 2 p.m. today in Oak Harbor United Methodist Church. A fellowship hour will follow. Crosser Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

The family requests tributes to the Ottawa County 4-H Endowment Fund, the Frederick T. Grimm Scholarship Fund, the Ohio State University, the Ottawa County Historical Society, or Oak Harbor United Methodist Church.

--The Blade, Toledo, OH, Sunday, September 14, 1997

 
 

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