ONEONTA – A graveside service was planned today for William E. Grimes, Sr., one of Oneonta’s last remaining World War II veterans, and a decorated one. He passed away Wednesday, July 29, 2020, at the age of 98, plus one day.
William fought in the Battle of the Bulge, which blunted Germany’s last major offensive on the Western Front, and he was wounded during the seizure of the Ludendorff Bridge at Remagen, the last remaining bridge over the Rhine; the unexpected capture expedited the U.S. invasion of Germany. Among the most famous episodes of World War II, a major motion picture, “The Bridge at Remagen,” (1969) with Robert Vaughn and George Segal, retold the story.
He was a member of the Army’s 47th Infantry 9th Division as a M1 rifle marksman, fisrt-class, machine gunner, serving in the Central European Campaigns of 1942-45. He earned a Bronze Star, and a Purple Heart when he was injured at Remagen. He returned home to a hero’s welcome in New York harbor.
He was born in Middle Village, Staten Island, on July 28, 1922, the son of the William H and Lena (Schuab) Grimes. He was married to Rose Marie Russo on June 19, 1949, in Oneonta, where they enjoyed 57 years of marriage. Rosie predeceased him in 2006.
William worked at various jobs in Oneonta and retired from the SUNY Oneonta maintenance department after 20 years. After his retirement, he worked for Reynolds Greenhouse/Stoeger’s Florist, then at Bookhout Funeral Home from 1997 to 2014, and he volunteered at FoxCare, where he enjoyed “telling people where to go.”
Willy was a member of the Sixth Ward Booster Club Playground and the Sixth Ward Athletic Club. He enjoyed golfing with his friends and spending time with family.
He is survived by two sons, Michael Grimes of Oneonta and William Grimes Jr (Jenny) of South New Berlin; grandchildren Anthony (Hannah) Grimes of New Berlin, Nicholas (Gina) Grimes of Arlington, Vt., and Phoebe Weiler of Oneonta, as well as great-grandchildren Nico and Brexli Rose. He also leaves behind special friends Debra Coe, Dustin and Cody, and Cathy Grimes. He was predeceased by a sister, Leona (Grimes) Roberts.
There will be no calling hours. The graveside service was planned at the Oneonta Plains Cemetery, with Bruce Helmstrom of Helios Care officiating.
Memorial donations in the name of William Grimes may be made to Helios Care or the charity of one’s choice.
To honor Willy’s memory, be sure thank veterans for their service to our country.
To light a candle or send an online condolence, visit www.bookhoutfuneralhome.com
Arrangements are by the Bookhout Funeral Home, Oneonta.