Kenneth Cole Grimes, born May 27, 1944, in Payette, Idaho, to Kenneth Edward and Charlotte (Thornburg) Grimes, passed away Dec. 6, 2013, in Mesa, Ariz., at the age of 69.
Ken was a real outdoorsman and entrepreneur. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, traveling, motorcycles and old cars — his favorite being a 1941 Plymouth sedan.
In his lifetime, Ken worked many jobs but never worked for another person after he was 25. Most notably, he will be remembered as a pilot, a builder, a developer, a commercial fisherman, a stock trader and a shrewd judge of character.
Ken met the love of his life, Emilie Cole, in 1962 in Los Angeles and married her on May 16, 1964. Having spent three years in Alaska in the 1950s as a boy, Ken told Emilie, “If we have kids, I am not raising them in L.A. I want to raise them in Alaska.” And a month after their first son was born, he moved there in February 1967 by driving the Alcan Highway in an old Hillman Minx convertible.
His 35 years in Alaska were filled with many adventures with family and friends. In 1976, Ken decided the true Alaskan experience was still calling and moved his family to a chunk of land on the west side of Cook Inlet near the banks of Silver Salmon Creek. There, Ken and Emilie raised two sons through their formative years and built and ran a successful hunting/fishing lodge.
Ken loved Alaska for what it represented: a rugged frontier where a man could create something from nothing and where hard work and perseverance were necessary traits. He flew thousands of hours as a bush pilot, and the trio of Schadle, Frohlich and Grimes rode their steeds of fabric and steel into places and situations that were the stuff of local lore, memorialized by the great troubadour Phil Ames in an epic poem.
Ken and Emilie moved to Texas full time in 2001, and they shared 14 happy years on the shores of Lake LBJ. During those years, they traveled extensively, visiting and exploring the rest of the United States, Central America, Australia, New Zealand and much of the Carribbean. After living in Texas for 15 years, Ken and Emilie retired to Arizona in August 2013.
Ken is survived by his beloved wife of 49½ years, Emilie Grimes; sons, Ken (Karen) Grimes Jr. and Dan (Claudia) Grimes; sister, Donita (Jake) Whitecotton; grandchildren, Kevin, Keith, Kyle, Kaden, Cole and Emilie; and nieces and nephews, Charlene, Catelyn, Josh, Christopher and Colton.
Ken will be laid to rest at Mariposa Gardens Memorial Park in Mesa. Arrangements by Mariposa Gardens, (480) 830-4422.