Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Oscar Grimes, Davidsonville Farmer

From the Ca:pital-Gazette 

Oscar Grimes in his tobacco field 13 years ago.
           Oscar Grimes, a lifelong Davidsonville farmer remembered for his sense of humor and dedication to his community, his church and agricultural leadership, died July 13 of heart failure. He was 90 years old.      For 88 of those years he lived and worked the farm his father bought in 1926, when the family moved from Sudley.      He grew up working the fields of what was then 107 acres off Birdsville Road. He took on the full responsibility of the farm at age 16, after his father was seriously injured in an accident.      He started off working behind a horse-drawn plow and saw the technology advance from old tractors to now when you don't really have to be in the tractor, with its satellite tracking and computers," son Bill Grimes said.     
      "Working on the farm he had a no-nonsense, let's get the job done attitude but whenever possible he would try to keep things light hearted.
      The younger Grimes, who has taken over farm operations over the last several years, remembers another side.
      What impressed me most was his (way) with people, he was able to make a connection with anyone… making them feel at ease as though they were old friends even though they just met."
       His wife, Jean Grimes, who married Oscar in 1950, said she'll remember, "a guy with a big and kind heart who was interested in people. He loved people."
      She recalled his high school days when he got up and fed cattle and chickens and milked cows, all before he went to school. "He only went half a day and came back to the farm to work at noon. He worked so hard he would fall asleep at the supper table. Of course he was so busy he had no time to get in trouble."
      He will be remembered as a John Deere man. "They got one John Deere, then another, then another," Jean Grimes recalled.
      Later in life he took a serious interest in antique tractors and was an active member of the Anne Arundel County Antique Tractor Club.      The homeplace, Hilldale Farm, was a diversified enterprise: cattle, lambs, pigs, corn, soybeans, produce, and for as long as the market held up — tobacco.     
      Despite the full schedule a farm demands he was active in the community, a member of the Davidsonville Ruritan and a founding member of the Anne Arundel County Fair.
      His agricultural know-how was put to good use as a member of both the county and state Farm Bureau, and served as vice-president of the latter for seven years. But he also served on the Anne Arundel County Soil Conservation Board and was active in 4-H.
       "I don't know how he had time to do it all," his son said.
      He was well respected," said Ray Davis, a cousin. "He worked hard for agriculture in the county and the state. Everybody knew him and liked him."
      Davis' father was Grimes' contemporary and the younger Davis recalled his father, Grimes and other men getting together, involved in the community.
      "When I was young the Grimes and Davis families would gather for picnics on the Fourth of July. He was a good and decent man."
       Martin Zehner, 89, knew Grimes since they were boys. "We went to Davidsonville Elementary together. A three-room schoolhouse, with no running water. Route 214 was a gravel road.
      We were both active in the Farm Bureau over the years," Zehner added. "He had a lot of connections that served the agricultural community well."     
      Jeff Griffith, president of the Anne Arundel Farm Bureau, remembered Grimes as a long-time member of the organization's board, and a contemporary of his father, Earl Griffith.
      "He was involved before I was born," Griffith said. "He was a good man."   
      A life-long member of Davidsonville United Methodist Church, he served in every office but one, Jean Grimes said.
       "There were so many, I can't remember which one he didn't do. His faith was important. He used to say some are close to The Lord because they are so close to the soil, to the creation."
      After standing-room-only services on Saturday he was buried in the church cemetery.
      "And he got one more tractor ride," his wife said. "Members of the antique tractor club did it. Instead of a hearse, he was carried to the cemetery on a trailer hooked up to the of an old John Deere tractor

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