Mary Grimes' passion was teaching. It was never just a job, it was an expression of her love of children, her family said.
Grimes pursued her passion for 35 years, 32 of them at elementary classrooms in the Omaha Public Schools.
Mary Louise Ellis Grimes died Sept. 10 at the Omaha Nursing and Rehabilitation Center after a short illness, said her daughter, Karen McDougall of Piedmont, S.D. She was 81.
Grimes taught at the now-closed West Side and Brown Park Elementary Schools before moving to Hartman Elementary in 1963. She taught there until retiring in 1994.
“I think she just liked the kids. I think she liked everything about teaching,” McDougall said.
Jan Pinaire was principal at Hartman when Grimes taught fifth and sixth grade there.
“She was a person who just took every day as seriously as she could,” Pinaire said. She made sure her students were “serious and got the best-rounded education possible.”
Grimes also was fun and had a good sense of humor, said Pinaire, who is retired and living in Bethlehem, Pa.
“She was cooperative, collaborative, organized, serious and a team player,” the former principal said.
Grimes grew up on her family's farm in rural St. Edward, Neb., where she developed her lifelong love of gardening, her daughter said.
Grimes graduated from Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln.
She was a member of the Red Hat Society and a gardening club. She also was an avid bridge player.
In retirement, she and her husband traveled. They logged more than 100,000 miles on the road, many on a motorcycle in trips across Europe and the United States, McDougall said.
Besides Grimes' daughter, survivors also include her husband, of 61 years, Milton “Mit” Grimes of Omaha; son, Jerry Grimes of Nashville, Tenn.; and four grandchildren.
Mary Grimes was buried Sept. 14 in Chambers, Neb.