Edwin T. Grimes, O.S.A.

1908 – 2005 (April 11)

Edwin Thomas Grimes was born on April 14, 1908, to Edwin T. Grimes, Sr., and Elizabeth M. Vipond. He was baptized in the church of Our Lady of the Rosary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on May 3, 1908, and received his early education at St. Aloysius Academy, West Chester, PA. From 1923 to 1927, he attended the high school division of Mount St. Mary’s College in Emmitsburg, Maryland, and afterwards became a post graduate postulant at Augustinian Academy, Staten Island, New York. On September 9, 1928, he entered the novitiate, professed first vows on September 10, 1929 and solemn vows three years later. He graduated from Villanova College with a B.A. degree is History in June, 1933, and then pursued theological studies at Augustinian College, Washington, DC. He was ordained to the priesthood on June 9, 1936, by Bishop John M. McNamara. 

While studying theology, Ed did graduate work in History at Catholic University and received his M.A. in June, 1937. That same year he was assigned to teach at St. Mary’s Hall, the collegiate seminary, on the campus of Villanova College. In the fall of 1938, he continued graduate studies in history at Oxford University, but in October 1939, he returned to the United States, due to the outbreak of World War II. He resumed teaching at St. Mary’s Hall and was enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania to continue his studies.

From 1941 to 1956, Father Grimes ministered at Villanova College as professor, chaplain and dormitory prefect. In October, 1944, he was appointed Ecclesiastical Chaplain of the Military Ordinariate at Villanova College. From 1956 to 1958, while recuperating from illness, he was at Our Mother of Good Counsel Novitiate, New Hamburg, NY. Then, from 1958 to 1968, after a short stay at St. Rita Parish, Philadelphia, PA., he continued his ministry as prior and assistant pastor at St. Augustine Parish, Philadelphia. It was in August, 1968, that he was assigned to St. Denis Parish, Havertown, PA. In 1986, while still ministering at St. Denis Parish, Father Grimes was appointed archivist for the Province. In 1997, due to illness, he was received into the community of St. Thomas Monastery, Villanova, PA. After a long illness, Father Grimes passed over to the Lord on Monday, April 11, 2005, just three days shy of his 97th birthday. He was the oldest living member of the Province of St. Thomas of Villanova.

Over the years, Father Grimes was blessed with warmth, understanding and compassion for the people he served. As a counselor, he was very conscientious about guiding young men to the Order. In the early days, he assisted at Rosemont College, Cabrini College and on Saturdays, at Hallahan High School where he taught Religious Sisters for accreditation to teach.

Father Trevor Davies, M.A., of Oxford, recorded, “He attended, on the average, nine or ten lectures a week dealing with a large variety of aspects of English and General History. His essays and other tests showed that he possessed an exceptional capacity for rapid and accurate work, high literary ability, acute critical powers and independence of mind…. He showed an especial capacity for original research in his chosen field of medieval history.”

The Mass of the Resurrection was celebrated at St. Thomas Church on the campus of Villanova University, and burial took place at the Augustinian plot at Calvary Cemetery, West Conshohocken, PA.