John Franklin Grimes III
1943 - 2020
Grimes III, John Franklin

March 15, 1943 - October 20, 2020

John Grimes, Mayor of Siler City, passed from his earthly home to his heavenly home on Tuesday, October 20, after only four days under hospice care. He was born March 15, 1943 to John F. Grimes, Jr. and Virginia Williams Grimes. He was proud to have grown up in the small mill town of Cooleemee in Davie County.

After graduating from Davie County High School, he received 22 offers of full grant-in-aid scholarships to play football, including one from every school in the ACC. He chose Wake Forest and became the first athlete from Davie County to receive an athletic scholarship to a Division 1 NCAA school. He was inducted into the Davie County Sports Hall of Fame in 2007.

After graduating from Wake Forest, he fulfilled his military obligation, serving in the 3/8th Cavalry of the 8th Infantry Division in Germany, retiring with the rank of captain.

In 1968, in response to a letter from his father-in-law asking him to join Cecil Budd Tire Company, he came to Siler City. His career there as a successful businessman spanned 49 years.

He was intensely interested in political matters and became the first and only Republican elected to the Chatham County Board of Commissioners during the 20th century. Not only was he elected, he led the ticket, serving from 1994-1998. He then turned his political interests to Siler City, running successfully for District 4 Town Commissioner from 1999-2003. He was re-elected in 2003, 2007, and 2011, and served 10 years as mayor pro tem before going on to win four consecutive terms as mayor.

He was awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, North Carolina's highest civilian honor for a citizen of our state.

He was a former volunteer fireman for the Town, a board director of Capital Bank, an Eagle Scout and a member in good standing of Alcoholics Anonymous for 35 years. He was a member of First Baptist Church where he served as chairman of the Board of Deacons and taught Sunday School youth and adult men. His last patriotic act was to go to the polls and vote four days prior to his passing.

He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Cecilia Budd Grimes of the home; two sons, John Thomas and wife Alysia of Clemmons, NC, and Stephen and wife Marcia of Siler City; a sister, Kathy Januzelli and brother-in-law Jim of Lawrenceville, Georgia; grandchildren Alaina and Andrew, Jonathan, Abigail, Julia, Tucker, Sophia, Daniel, and several nieces and nephews.

In a moving tribute by a member of the United States Congress, the family was informed that the American Flag over the Capitol Building in Washington, DC, was flown in honor of US Army veteran John Franklin Grimes, III, on the day of his passing. The flag has been sent to Siler City for use at his funeral.

His service will be held Saturday, October 24 on the grounds of Chatham Charter School at 11 a.m. The family will arrive at 10 a.m. to greet friends. A private interment will be later that afternoon at Mount Vernon Springs Presbyterian Church with full military honors.

The service will be broadcast internationally via the web at or may be listened to by phone at (347) 215-8049. Pastor Cecil Wilson will officiate.

Memorials may be made to Fellowship Hall, Post Office Box 13890, Greensboro, NC 27415 or to Mount Vernon Springs Presbyterian Church Cemetery Fund, 1225 Mount Vernon Springs Road, Siler City, NC 27344.

Smith and Buckner Funeral Home is assisting the family.

Smith & Buckner Funeral Home

230 North Second Ave., Siler City, NC 27344
To plant trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published by Greensboro News & Record on Oct. 23, 2020.
10:00a.m. - 11:00a.m.
Chatham Charter School
Chatham Charter School
Funeral services provided by:
Smith and Buckner Funeral Home
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11 Entries
Dear Cece and family: I just heard of John`s passing. My sincere condolences to you in the family. He was such A great guy. From our time in college it was obvious he was going to do something special with his life.Sending you love and hugs from Colorado. May he rest in eternal peace.
Bill Graves
October 25, 2020
This world has lost a unique Christian beacon for us to follow in loving and serving our family, friends, and neighbors - as well as those strangers we encounter each day. There will never be another John Grimes for us to love and admire but we can and will always carry him in our hearts! Tom and Mary Dossenbach
Tom and Mary Dossenbach
October 25, 2020
It has been my honor to be able to call this great man my friend! We lived next door to each other and have been friends for over 70 years!!! John is one of the most caring people I have ever known!! He loved and supported his family, his friends, his church, his town, his country and he really loved the town of Cooleemee, NC and all his friends he grew up with there!! It breaks my heart that due to health reasons, I will not be able to attend his funeral today! My heart goes out to CiCi and the rest of the family and his sister, Kathy and her family!! You will be in my thoughts and prayers!!! I love you guys! ❤
Sue Talley
October 24, 2020
It is such an honor to have known this great man and have the privilege of calling him my friend. We were childhood friends and lived next door to each other and have remained friends for over 70 years!!!! He is one of the most caring people I know!!! He loved and supported his family, his friends, his town, his country, his church and he really loved Cooleemee, NC and all of his friends he grew up with there!! We had a very unique situation there and very lucky to have grown up in such a special place!!! Due to health reasons, it breaks my heart that I won’t be able to attend his service today!!!! I will be there in spirit and will hopefully be able to watch thru streaming! My heart goes out to CiCi and the rest of the family and John”s sister Kathy and her family!! May God give you peace!! I love you guys!!
Sue Talley
October 24, 2020
We are so sorry for your loss and all send our love. John was a remarkable man. Thank all of you for being so welcoming and kind to our family! And of course we will think of him often when we go to games at Dear Old Wake Forest!
Jim, Jennifer, and Josh Wall
October 23, 2020
Terribly sorry to hear . "The Man from Cooleemee with personality of a giant " He was . Im from Mocksville .Treasure knowing him Loved by Family . Friends , Team mates ,and Citizens .Will greatly miss him
Bill Evans ..Charlotte
October 23, 2020
a loved one
October 23, 2020
It was an honor to have grown-up in Davie County with Johnny Grimes. He was a friend for life. Rest in peace John, and God bless the Grimes Family.
State Representative JULIA C. HOWARD
October 23, 2020
We are very thankful for having John in our lives! He was a blessing to our family! We will miss him ! We are praying for the family and friends effected! Love you always John G
Danny & Angela Albright
October 23, 2020
So sorry to hear of John´s passing. Hr was a great friend, wonderful team mate, and a true Southern gentleman. My deepest condolences to Cece and her family. He will be sorely missed. Thank you for your service and sacrifice. Rest In Peace my brother.
Jim Mayo
October 23, 2020
John epitomized the Yiddish word "mensch ", he was a man among men all his life and in every way. Knowing him enriched my life in so many ways.
October 22, 2020