The Maxine Grimm We Knew

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Maxine Tate Shields Grimm, 102—who was instrumental in opening the Philippines to missionary work and whose contributions strengthened The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the country in the 1960s—died February 10, 2017, in Tooele, Utah.

Sister Grimm, born May 18, 1914, arrived in the Philippines as a Red Cross worker on a hospital ship during Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s historic Leyte landing on October 20, 1944. She helped organize regular sacrament meetings in Tacloban, then made her way to Manila and again helped organize sacrament meetings with the help of Camp Commander Col. Pete Grimm. They married in 1947 and made their home in Manila where her husband joined the Church in 1967. 

While much has been said about her pioneering efforts, did you know that she loved to walk around the house and their garden barefooted, and would always serve guests with healthy food like homemade whole wheat bread? Here are more interesting details about the life of Sister Grimm as seen up close and personal by some early members of the Church…

Our mother Aurora who will be 85 this August was the visiting teaching companion of Sister Maxine Grimm in Sta. Mesa Branch. We lived in the same neighborhood in Bacood, Sta. Mesa, Manila. The Grimms had a big house on a huge lot in our area, complete with a mini zoo that had monkeys, birds and other animals. We would play volleyball on their grassy lawn and swim in their covered pool. They had a lot of those big old American cars in their garage.

I really admired the faithfulness of the Grimm couple because back when our rented meetinghouse was on the fourth floor of a building in Kalentong, they would slowly make their way up the stairs despite their age. They maybe rich, but Sister Grimm didn’t mind visiting members who lived in the depressed areas of our branch, shared Ted Maroket. 

Early members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Philippines will always remember with fondness the name Maxine Tate Grimm. She and her husband Edward Miller “Pete” Grimm, a retired UA army Colonel helped open doors for the Church here in our country. Life has been one of kindness and dedicated service for this remarkable woman. The Grimm home in Bacood, Sta. Mesa served as the center of church activity for many years. We would play games and members would spend time together in their home and she would always feed everybody healthy food. Maxine was not very fond of meat as far as I can remember.

Baptisms were held in their children’s swimming pool in their home. Every Saturday, children would be picked up from their homes and be brought to their house in Sta. Mesa for some Primary activities. A lover of music, a pianist and an organist, Maxine was known for carrying her pump organ with her everywhere she went to bring joy to the people’s lives. She once said in an interview “Our purpose in this life is to help others and thereby attaining joy for ourselves. As I continue to work my way back to our Heavenly Father, I try to reach out and help those around me in any way I can,” recalled Nenita Gapiz. 

Pres. Ruel E. Lacanienta, Philippines Olongapo Mission:

On July 27, 1963, our family was baptized at the Grimm’s swimming pool at their residence in Sta. Mesa. Many other activities were held there since we didn’t have a meetinghouse then. Sister Grimm was always ready with her pump organ to play music, even during sunrise services at the American Cemetery.

My younger sister Elvee remembers playing in their front yard while our mother attended Relief Society meetings at the Grimm home. As a result of Sis. Grimm’s influence, we had cracked wheat cereal for breakfast, whole wheat bread sandwiches for school lunches, and a spoonful of molasses syrup every night.

I was friends with her son Pete while Elvee was playmates with her daughter Linda. At the newly built Buendia chapel, Pete and I enjoyed playing basketball with the other Filipino young men. Elvee got to ride in the back of their big black Cadillac with Linda.

“I remember a tall imposing, smartly dressed woman in Florsheim peep toe shoes, walking down the halls of the Buendia chapel, reprimanding us children, not to bang on the piano, sternly reminding us that it was not a toy,” recalls Elvee.

Several years later after Sister Grimm returned to the US, I ran into her at Temple Square during General Conference. She handed me VIP tickets right up front in the Tabernacle. She was a great lady, loving, unselfish and had a very special love for the Filipino people.

Did you have the privilege of meeting Sister Maxine Grimm? How did her influence bless your life? Please tell us in the comments section below.