Grimes, Michael Sean

Michael Sean Grimes of Marion, Ohio, died on Friday, December 20, 2019 at Riverside Memorial Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. Born to Claire Marie (née Smith) and John Francis on October 19, 1955 in Camden, New Jersey, he was a wild colonial boy from the start. Brother to John (Dorothy) and Kathy, he enjoyed a rambunctious childhood in the postwar suburb of Willingboro, New Jersey. A naturally gifted athlete, he was a high school wrestling champion. But Mike found even more success on the gridiron.  After fielding offers from colleges across the country (including a home visit from Bear Bryant), Mike spent a transformational year at Fork Union Military Academy in the very un-New Jersey-like environs of Virginia. He then took his talents to the Naval Academy, where he earned a spot in the starting lineup as a freshman. He would finish his football career as a Cincinnati Bearcat and went on to earn his Juris Doctorate at Ohio Northern University.

What began as a temporary stint in Ohio turned into a lifelong residency when a weekend road trip with friends took him to the small town of Marion. There, he met a local girl named Mary Anne Frericks. For Mike, it was love at first sight. They were married in 1982 and remained committed to each other until his death. To their three children, Katie (Erin), John (Courtney), and Kelly (Salvador), he was an energetic and loving father, remembered especially for piggyback rides, puppet shows, and epic bedtime stories.

Mike gave his all to his adopted hometown of Marion: as a young man, he started his own law firm and founded Shamrock Insurance Agency, which he would operate for over thirty years. He also coached the Harding High School freshman football team and was an adjunct professor of business. Throughout his life, he gave his time and energy to numerous charitable and fraternal organizations, including Easter Seals and especially the Knights of Columbus; he sponsored numerous local sports teams. He was elected to public office as law director of the city of Marion in 1992 and served several terms on the Marion County Board of Elections.  He also served his country, enlisting in the Army National Guard as a JAG at the end of the Cold War.

Effortlessly generous, Mike never hesitated to help anyone going through a rough patch. A friend to many, he loved to talk to people and had a genuine interest in the details of people’s lives. He was a great storyteller.  He was a man of big ideas and never stopped dreaming about what he would do next.

A consummate Irishman, he was a hellraiser and skilled prankster. He once successfully impersonated a college administrator and got a local radio station to announce the cancellation of classes due to inclement weather. To hear tale of his other escapades, you will just have to ask around.

An avid reader, he had a vast store of knowledge about many subjects, especially military and political history. He loved Westerns, science fiction, and Winston Churchill.

He was known for his sometimes apropos aphorisms and rarely left an event or social occasion without announcing, “God Bless All In This House.”  Near the end of his life, he was blessed with three grandchildren: Samuel Eoghan, Gussie Fetter, and Seamus Enda. He was also a proud uncle to Morgan, John, and Dan Grimes of Philadelphia. He will be missed by all who knew him.

Visitation will be Friday, December 27, 2019 at Snyder Funeral Homes, GUNDER/HALL Chapel, 347 West Center St., Marion from 4PM to 7PM; Celebration of life service will be Saturday at the funeral home at 10:30AM.

If so desired, donations may be made in Mike’s honor to the Fork Union Military Academy, PO Box 278, Fork Union, VA 23055

The Snyder Funeral Homes of Marion are honored to be serving the Grimes family; condolences may be expressed to the family by visiting