In 15 years of writing columns for you, never have I had as heavy a heart in writing one as I do today. I have written about many joyous things, many controversial things, and a few sad things along the way. I have always spoken from my heart and endeavored to stay true to the Word. Today, however, is a new challenge for me.

On Tuesday afternoon my beloved dad, David Grimes, passed away quietly after a courageous two-week battle with pneumonia at 101. My dad meant everything to me. Every moment I spent with him over 67 years was a treasure. He was the most humble, gentle man I ever knew and therein lied his greatness. He was never bombastic or a self-promoter. Like the legendary soldier Dick Winters of Band of Brothers fame, all my dad wanted was a nice quiet little corner of the world to raise his family, to serve, as he did as a 32 year county auditor, the people, and to enjoy the simple treasures of life.

He was a patriot in spades and loved and served his country in WWII as a prime example for four years and two months, as a member of the Greatest Generation as Tom Brokaw described them. He ultimately received two bronze stars and became a master sergeant. He saw firsthand man's inhumanity to man in the stench and starvation at the Nazi concentration camp at Dachau which only enhanced what he had already learned particularly well from his beloved mom....that kindness and love and civility to others were the principles to live by.

As an elected official, he was revered....10 terms, and displayed his adherence to honesty and fairness even when the odds were against him when standing up for the right against those whom public service was but a way to get private gain.

He served in many ways but even when opportunities arose to gain more recognition and authority came before him in higher level state jobs, he never wavered. He had found the peace and contentment that strengthened his soul right here in rural Iowa.

But it was as a husband, dad, grandpa and friend my dad really displayed his greatness. Our family loved him for a million reasons and had millions of remembrances of his l as laugh, his love and his kindness. We knew what so many have told us already in condolences...David Grimes was a great and good man.

As one very notable community leader put it, "He was a great and beloved and an amazing man." The pride I have in him knows no bounds, nor the love. I spent the last few months with him in hours and hours of, in many ways, being his eyes and ears. His mind was incredibly good. I was criticized by a few hollow people who were paid for caring for him for spending so much time with him. I wouldn’t trade a minute of it. It was a privilege and time well spent as we shared stories, music, laughter and more. In my dad, my earthly father, I saw the goodness and example of what our Heavenly Father is like...unconditional and sacrificial and committed love. I could, as we all are urged to do, look for Jesus in others by the way they live. I saw Him in my dad in so many ways. And he ran the race and finished the course and kept the faith with a heart of gold and a lion's courage. And because of His faith and Jesus' faithfulness, there is, indeed, laid up for my dad a crown of righteousness.

Saturday, at Trinity United Methodist Church at 9 a.m. visitation begins and we have a beautiful service planned for him at 1:30 p.m. I want to personally invite you to join my 100-year-old mom, myself and family as we remember Monroe County's oldest soldier and a man who was a son of southern Iowa, who loved all people and was never afraid to show it or say it. We would be honored and blessed if you join us.

Oh yes, one more thing...I love you dad, I am blessed to be your son.

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