One of the most honored, renowned and influential women ever to call Tooele County home has left us.
Maxine Grimm, at the impressive and inspiring age of 102, died Friday (See related front-page story). The news of her death quickly spread throughout the Tooele County community and also around the globe. She was affectionately known by many, and achieved an extraordinary, adventure-filled life that could make for a best-selling novel or Hollywood movie. In her lifetime she knew joy, love and deep grief; peacetime and the ravages of war; and poverty and wealth, all against the backdrop of the 20th century.
But more importantly, her beneficence and LDS faith graciously touched countless lives in remarkable ways at home and abroad. There is not enough space in this tribute to chronicle her many accomplishments. And she did them all across an impressive leap of time that spanned more than 100 years.
To give you a sense of her long, good life, Maxine took her first breath on May 18, 1914. Two months later, World War I began. What she has seen of, and contributed to, the world since then is the stuff of legends and will inspire many for generations to come.
Maxine was born in Tooele City of Mormon pioneer stock from the core of the county’s early pioneers. Four of her great-grandfathers walked across America’s plains with LDS pioneers to Utah. Two of those men helped lay the first boundaries of Tooele City in the mid-19th century. For Maxine, her heritage has always been a source of respect and duty, and never about privilege.
“My great-grandparents … left behind beautiful homes and comfortable circumstances to come to this area,” she said in one of many stories published about her in this newspaper over the years. “They sacrificed all they had to build the first houses, churches and schools in Tooele. Throughout my life, I have been very mindful of my ancestors, and I have tried in every way possible to carry on traditions they started.”
Maxine’s life mirrored those pioneer traditions, with faith and courage the biggest standouts. Like her ancestors, she let faith and a willingness to break through barriers be central to her life. An example of this was her instrumental role in helping establish the LDS Church in the Republic of the Philippines after World War II.
In a past interview while talking about her travels, and experiences with historical figures, she concluded that her true passions in life were service and missionary work.
“My goal was to show people how their life can be beautiful and eternal,” she said. “Love is a very powerful verb. It creates miracles. The gospel of Jesus Christ teaches how and what love is.”
During her life, presidents, governors, generals and prophets knew her by name, but she never lost touch with her faith or her roots as a humble, small town girl from Tooele, Utah. That’s what made Maxine remarkable, truly one-of-a-kind. Tooele County has lost a beloved matriarch. And through her actions, Maxine showed us all the power and miracle of love.