John Grimes

Published 11:34 am Friday, October 23, 2020

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

John Grimes, mayor of Siler City, died on Tuesday, Oct. 20 after four days under hospice care.

He was born March 15, 1943 to John F. Grimes Jr. and Virginia Williams Grimes. He was proud to have grown up in the small mill town of Cooleemee in Davie County. After graduating from Davie County High School, he received 22 offers of full grant-in-aid scholarships to play football, including one from every school in the ACC. He chose Wake Forest and became the first athlete from Davie County to receive an athletic scholarship to a Division 1 NCAA school. He was inducted into the Davie County Sports Hall of Fame in 2007. After graduating from Wake Forest, he fulfilled his military obligation, serving in the 3/8th Cavalry of the 8th Infantry Division in Germany, retiring with the rank of captain. In 1968, in response to a letter from his father-in-law asking him to join Cecil Budd Tire Company, he came to Siler City.  His career there as a successful businessman spanned 49 years. He was interested in political matters and became the first and only Republican elected to the Chatham County Board of Commissioners during the 20th century. He led the ticket, serving from 1994-1998. He then turned his political interests to Siler City, running successfully for District 4 Town Commissioner from 1999-2003. He was re-elected in 2003, 2007, and 2011, and served 10 years as Mayor ProTem before going on to win four consecutive terms as mayor.

He was awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, North Carolina’s highest civilian honor for aresident. He was a former volunteer firefighter for the town, a board director of Capital Bank, an Eagle Scout and a member in good standing of Alcoholics Anonymous for 35 years. He was a member of First Baptist Church where he served as chair of the noard of deacons and taught Sunday School youth and adult men. His last patriotic act was to go to the polls and vote four days prior to his passing.

Survivors: his wife of 55 years, Cecilia Budd Grimes of the home; 2 sons, John Thomas and wife Alysia of Clemmons, and Stephen and wife Marcia of Siler City; a sister, Kathy Januzelli and brother-in-law Jim of Lawrenceville, Ga.; grandchildren, Alaina and Andrew, Jonathan, Abigail, Julia, Tucker, Sophia, Daniel; and several nieces and nephews.

In a tribute by a member of the U.S. Congress, the family was informed that the American Flag over the Capitol Building in Washington, DC,  was flown in honor of US Army veteran John Franklin Grimes III  on the day of his passing. The flag has been sent to Siler City for use at his funeral.

His service will be held Saturday, Oct. 24 on the grounds of Chatham Charter School at 11 a.m. The family will arrive at 10 a.m. to greet friends. A private burial will be later that afternoon at Mount Vernon Springs Presbyterian Church with full military honors. The service will be broadcast internationally via the web at or may be listened by phone at (347) 215-8049. Pastor Cecil Wilson officiated.

Memorials: Fellowship Hall, PO Box 13890, Greensboro, 27415; or to Mount Vernon Springs Presbyterian Cemetery Fund, 1225 Mount Vernon Springs Road, Siler City, 27344.