Tuesday, Sep 19, 2017
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Barbara L. Grimm (1932-2017): Teacher was optimistic, well liked by her students

FINDLAY — Barbara L. Grimm, a retired Washington Local teacher who brought a positive outlook to her classrooms, died Aug. 21 at the Heritage in Findlay. She was 85.

She’d had several strokes the last five years and most recently had kidney failure, her son Allen said.

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Grimm

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Mrs. Grimm retired from the Washington Local Schools in 1987, a year after the retirement of her husband, Donald, who taught biology at Whitmer High School and for a time was an assistant varsity football coach there.

She closed her career at Washington Junior High School, and science became a teaching specialty. For most of her 20-year Washington Local career, Mrs. Grimm taught fifth or sixth grades at Hopewell and then Lincolnshire Elementary schools.

Her son could tell his friends weren’t just buttering him up when they said, “I really liked your mom.”

“She was really well thought of,” her son said. “They were saying that because they genuinely felt that way.”

He said: “My mom was a pretty smart person and kind of liked being able to push that next generation.”

Those meeting her outside school experienced the same qualities.

“She was outgoing and very friendly and very optimistic — definitely a glass-is-half-full type of person,” her son said, “and very empathetic and wanting to leave the person feeling better after the conversation.”

She was born Sept. 16, 1932, in Findlay to Lydia and Robert Bowman. She was a 1949 graduate of Findlay High School and attended what was then Findlay College, where she met her husband, who played football as a freshman. Both knew they wanted to teach and so decided to complete their undergraduate education at Bowling Green State University. She later received a master’s degree from Indiana University.

She taught elementary students briefly in Whitehouse before the couple moved to her husband’s hometown, Celina, Ohio. She taught at East Elementary School, while her husband taught junior high and was on the basketball, track, and football coaching staffs. Her husband was one of the assistant coaches brought to Whitmer when Norm Decker became head football coach there. The district hired Mrs. Grimm, too, and the family settled on Katherine Drive near Whitmer.

The Grimms for years had a a summer home at Big Lake on Manitoulin Island, Ont., east of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. In retirement, the couple extended their yearly stays to late October.

“You’re talking scenery like a hundred years ago and a lot of friendly people,” her son said.

Mrs. Grimm was a member of College First Church of God in Findlay and had been a member of Trilby United Methodist Church in Toledo and United Church of Canada at Mindemoya, Ont. She sang soprano in her churches’ choirs.

She and her husband married Aug. 30, 1953. He died Oct. 25, 2002.

Surviving are her sons, Allen and Steven Grimm; sister, Patricia Notestine, and four grandchildren.

Memorial services will be at 1 p.m. Sept. 16 at the College First Church of God in Findlay, with visitation beginning at noon. Arrangements are by the Kirkpatrick-Behnke Funeral Home, Findlay.

The family suggests tributes to the College First Church of God or the Findlay City Mission.

Contact Mark Zaborney at mzaborney@theblade.com or 419-724-6182.

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