From time to time someone comes along in your life who not only has an impact on you but many others. Dick Grimm was such a man. This article below by Lorne Rubenstien, Columnist: Score Golf Magazine is a personal reflection of the man that Dick Grimm was.
“I woke up this morning keenly aware of how much so many people will miss Dick Grimm, who passed away Monday at the North York General Hospital in Toronto, where he had been the last three weeks. He was 91. I visited Dick in the afternoon, and he was in obvious distress. But he was brave, as was his nature. He still wanted to know the latest golf news. That was Dick.
Dick did it all in Canadian golf: chairman of the Canadian Open multiple times, and the man who helped it become significant tournament again after it had lost some of its luster; president of the RCGA (now Golf Canada) in 1975; director of professional tournaments for the RCGA from 1983-1993; Canadian Tour commissioner from 1993-1997; a member of the Ontario and Canadian Golf Halls of Fame. Jack Nicklaus made him a member of the exclusive Captains Club at the Muirfield Village GC in Dublin, Ohio, site of this week's Memorial Tournament.
Even after his retirement from official capacities in golf, Dick continued to give back and to advise anybody in the game wise enough to consult him. He hosted an annual tournament that raised money for the Wharton Head and Neck Clinic at Toronto's Princess Margaret Hospital, where he had been treated for throat cancer. His close pal Craig Stadler came up every year to participate in the tournament.
The loss for me is deeply personal. I've known Dick since 1970, when I caddied in the Canadian Open at the London Hunt Club. Dick was tournament chairman. I went to work part time for the Royal Canadian Golf Association a few years later. Not a day went by when Dick didn't encourage me.
Nobody was more enthusiastic, caring, and concerned about Canadian golf and golfers than Dick Grimm. He was thrilled to learn about the recent upsurge in Mike Weir's game. As Weir's brother Jim told me this morning, "Canadian golf lost a legend yesterday." Nick Price texted me to say, "He was a very special man and I really enjoyed the time we spent together." Dick offered Nick an exemption into the Canadian Open well before Nick would go on to win three majors and become the No. 1 player in the world. Dick simply thought it was the right thing to do. Nick never forgot the gesture. He returned time and again to the Canadian Open, and won it twice.
Dick wouldn't miss a tournament or an event around golf. He kept going, and going. Dick was close to Wooden Sticks GC in Uxbridge, Ont., and made sure he visited his friends Greg Seeman and the late Laurie Buckland there as often as possible. He'd stop by Coppinwood to see his friend Kevin Thistle. Al Chud, part of Wooden Sticks from the beginning, spent a lot of time with Dick and visited him at the hospital these last weeks. Al was hurting when we spoke a few hours after Dick passed away. So was Marlene Streit, a dear friend of Dick's. The three of us would often meet for coffee. I spoke with Marlene Monday night. She spoke highly of her friend of so many years. John Gordon, a former editor of SCOREGolf, shed a few tears in these last hours. There's been a tremendous outpouring of affection for Dick since his passing.
I won't go into the many awards in Dick's honour, or all that he accomplished in the game. He was a public person who gave his all during a very long and productive career. His legacy is all of his accomplishments, and more. He was a long-time member of the Bayview G&CC in Toronto. My nephew Sam worked in the back shop there for a couple of summers. Sam is studying in China. He e-mailed this yesterday: "Wow, I'm so sorry to hear. I enjoyed seeing him at Bayview for afternoon lunches on the weekend."
I took Dick's right hand in mine when I left him at the hospital in mid-afternoon Monday. He couldn't move because he was so weak. He had been restricted to his bed for weeks. But he found a way to offer a strong grip. He looked at me and I looked at him, and I left. Now Dick Grimm has left us. He left behind so much, coast to coast. We are richer for his commanding, congenial presence in golf, and in our lives.”
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