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Kathleen Grimes

Updated: May 18, 2022

Kathleen Ann Grimes (Kathy), beloved wife, daughter, mother, grandmother and so much more took her place with Jesus on May 13, 2022. She was 75 years old. She was able to live out her final days in her home in Johnston, surrounded with the love of family and close friends. Her passing came as a great shock as she was so vibrant, energetic, and full of life. She had no known illnesses when she was diagnosed with late-stage cancer on April 14th, 2022.

Kathy was born to David Curtis and Lois Louise (Meacham) Miller on January 25th, 1947. She was the oldest of 3 siblings and was preceded in death by her brother Michael Miller and her sister Gloria (Miller) Anderberg. She lived in the Des Moines area her entire life and graduated from Johnston High School in1965. She studied at Drake University, earning her degree in Physical Education and graduating in 1970. Her passion for reading brought her to work in the Media Centers in Johnston schools, and she enjoyed a 32.5-year career there before retiring in 2013. Upon retirement she continued to volunteer in the Beaver Creek Elementary School library.

She met the love of her life, Gerald (Jerry) Grimes, in 1961 at the Woodward Cafe. Their love was not to take shape yet, but they would return to each other later in life and start the most beautiful marriage filled with love, laughter, tears, travel, faith, and centered on family on March 1, 1990.

In the meantime, Kathy’s pride and joy was the beautiful family she started, raised, and loved beginning with her daughters. As a single parent of four girls for the bulk of their childhood, she modeled so many positive things. She modeled sacrifice - always doing for her kids, while often withholding her own wants and needs. She didn’t miss a sporting event, concert, recital, etc. She is undoubtedly the reason her girls are compassionate for others, enjoy reading and value education, love music and singing, and are crazily obsessed with taking photos. Her baking and sweet tooth for sure led to their appreciation of yummy homemade desserts.

The love she flowed into her girls was met and possibly surpassed by her adoration and devotion for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She faithfully followed each and every hobby, sport, and passion they pursued and was their biggest cheerleader. She loved recounting stories of each of them and the funny things they have said and done through the years. She was known to travel out of state to show up to read in an elementary school classroom, or watch a play, concert, or sporting event. She was the kind of Grandma who gets on the floor to play. She was always up for cards or board games (although notoriously a terrible loser!). She shared her love of reading with all of us. We could fill volumes of albums with photos of her reading to her grandkids. She connected with her grandchildren as they grew by talking about what they were reading.

In addition to keeping up with the many activities surrounding their family, Kathy kept herself and Jerry busy with her many hobbies and passions. She had an enormous garden which doubled in size as her kids grew up and moved out. She canned green beans and tomatoes which she magically turned into some of the best meals anyone had ever tasted.

Giving gifts was one of her many love languages and she made so many Christmases, birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, graduations, new babies, Valentines Days, and so many other occasions so special with her trademark meticulously wrapped gifts and her confetti filled cards that somehow always arrived exactly on the day intended. She always chose the most perfect gifts for her recipients and delighted in their enjoyment of them.

If we are being honest, she also loved shopping for herself and for her and Jerry’s beautifully appointed home. She was a collector of all things coffee (mugs, signs, accessories), Star Wars, Harry Potter, Noah’s Ark, and baseball to name a few. She was a sucker for a cute pair of boots, a Build-a-Bear, Disney anything, and bath and body products as well. After so many years of sacrificing her own wants and even needs, we all relished seeing her indulge herself. She always smelled amazing, and after a visit to your home, the scent of “Grandma” lingered for days.

She loved her church and church family and took so much pride in being part of building Maranatha Baptist Church. She loved being part of the choir, and truly valued the friendships and many adventures she shared with the people she met there.

Kathy loved her parents beyond measure and loved helping to care for them so well in their home as they aged. After her Mom moved to a care facility in 2020, she continued to lovingly and faithfully spend time both visiting her Mom in the care center and her Dad in his home, caring for him and just enjoying time with him. They had a truly special relationship. They loved to watch the Chicago Cubbies together. We know that she learned so much about life from her parents including being in a loving marriage ‘til death do us part. Upon understanding the terminal state of her illness, she expressed immediate regret in leaving them.

Kathy leaves a legacy of love behind with: her parents David Curtis Miller (98 of Des Moines, Iowa) and Lois Louise (Meacham) Miller (99 of Ankeny, Iowa); her 4 daughters Kristen Kai (Grimes) Haines (54 of Galesburg, Illinois), Melissa Michelle (Grimes) Officer (52 of Grimes, Iowa) and husband Chip, Heidee Leigh (Grimes) Meyer (49 of Lincoln, Nebraska), and Michael Courtney (Grimes) Scherer (48 of Bloomington, Minnesota) and husband Ron; her 4 stepchildren with Jerry, Brian Grimes (of Woodward, Iowa), Scott Grimes (deceased, of Granger, Iowa), Marci (Grimes) Santi (of Johnston, Iowa) and husband Larry, Jason Grimes (of Des Moines, Iowa) and wife Samantha their 17 beloved grandchildren Kristopher Kyle Hicks (36 of Des Moines, Iowa) and girlfriend Evy Van Polen, Kassiday Kai (Haines) Tesdell (30 of Johnston, Iowa) and husband Brandon, James David Haines (29 of Des Moines, Iowa), Josiah Daniel Haines (23 of St Petersburg, Florida), Charles William Officer III (Trey) (22 of Grimes, Iowa), Harmon David Meyer (21 of Lincoln, Nebraska), Isabel Louise Officer (21 of Grimes, Iowa), Reece David Officer (18 of Grimes, Iowa), Victoria Louise Meyer (Tory) (16 of Lincoln, Nebraska), Ullrich Michael Scherer (16 of Bloomington, MN), Zoe Elizabeth Officer (15 of Grimes, Iowa), Cadel Alana Scherer (14 of Bloomington, MN), Samuel Curtis Heiselman (11 of Galesburg, Illinois), Summer James Scherer (11 of Bloomington, MN), Willow Grimes (of Granger, Iowa), Miriam and Kain Grimes (of Des Moines, Iowa) their 8 adored great-grandchildren Serenity Kai Hollinger (10), Kylie Marie Hicks (9), Giselle Audrey Tesdell (7), Kalvin David Hicks (7), Nora Rae Embree (7), Preston Levi Tesdell (3), Evelyn Ann Hicks (3 months), and Marilyn Rose Tesdell (2 months).

Services will be held at Maranatha Baptist Church (877 Southeast 19th Street, Grimes, IA, 50111). Visitation at the church on Friday May, 20th from 6-8pm. Service on Saturday, May 21st at 10am with luncheon to follow. Kathy's family invites attendees to join them electronically via YouTube Livestream here:

In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation in honor of Kathleen Ann Grimes to the UnityPoint Home Hospice of Des Moines. You may use this link: Make a Donation to the UnityPoint Health - Des Moines Foundation | Ways to Give (

From their website: Your donation will be used to support our hospice mission and programs. This includes comfort therapies like massage and music therapy, educational programs on pain and symptom control and end-of-life issues, and medical equipment to provide comfort for patients with life-limiting illnesses. Every financial contribution to UnityPoint Hospice makes a difference in the lives of those we serve. You can also honor the memory of a loved one by making a donation in their name to UnityPoint Hospice.

We will never forget the gentle, loving, humane, compassionate care UnityPoint Home

Hospice provided



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