Obituary: David Lee Grimes |

Obituary: David Lee Grimes

David Lee Grimes
Provided Photo
David Lee


November 12, 2020

David Lee Grimes, a very vibrant and generous citizen of Greensboro, NC and of Aspen, CO, died following a brief illness on Thursday, November 12, 2020 at Cone Health.

A family inurnment service will be held at First Presbyterian Church Columbarium. A celebration of his life will be held at later date.

A native of Clarksburg, West Virginia, David was the son of Mildred Leonard and Robert Lee Grimes.

Following High School in Clarksburg, David graduated from the University of West Virginia where he was a member of Delta Tau Delta fraternity, ROTC and graduated with a degree in Marketing.

Growing up, David loved outdoor recreation, fishing and overnight trips with his father. Noticing his father always did the cooking, culinary interests were being planted in David which would grow into a passion for the rest of his life. “My first selling experience was peddling fresh vegetables grown from my father’s garden to the neighborhood from my little red wagon.”

In March of 1967, David started his business opening Potpourri, a unique gift store, in Friendly Shopping Center, Greensboro, NC. Driven by David’s success, Potpourri became the leading small business anchor stores of Friendly shopping center. David presented business plans to expand to three more stores, which the center approved and built. David opened Greetings Galore, Reed Runners and Hickory Farms.

In 1967, David began publishing cookbooks. Realizing the need to enhance the shopper’s culinary experiences, his first publication was “Fondue Cook-In.” Ultimately, he published 165 titles which was the jumping off point to start Potpourri Press. David grew the company into a successful wholesale business selling uniquely designed items driven by David and Joann’s creative genius. They went on to build a global business traveling all over the world to source and design products.

Preceding him in death were his parents and sister, Mary Alice Farrar.

Survivors include his wife of 45 years Joann Gaddy Grimes; daughters, Christy Grimes Angle (Steve), Emil Burns Mitchell, Lisa Grimes Deck (Joe), Trenna Burns Fulle (Bill); sister, Ruthanne Herold (Mike); seven grandchildren and six great grandchildren.

Too many to enumerate, David’s benevolences in time, energy, and philanthropy can be summed up in one of his favorite quotes, “it is the joy of life.”

Among his joys was his strong leadership with the Salvation Army of Greater Greensboro, Greensboro Urban Ministry, Duke Cancer Institute, United Way of Greater Greensboro, and Greensboro Habitat for Humanity.

David and Joann were honored by receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award from United Way of Greater Greensboro, The Shingleton Award from Duke Cancer Institute, and recognized as members of the William Booth Society for the Salvation Army of Greater Greensboro.

He and Joann were very active with foreign missions through New Directions Ministries and established clinics and churches in Haiti and India.

Among his other community activities, David was the president of Greensboro Rotary and member of the Rotary Club of Aspen as well as being recognized as a Paul Harris Fellow.

With the love of skiing, David and Joann became part of the Aspen community where they became involved and took full advantage of social and educational programs. They were inspired by learning opportunities at the Aspen Institute, the Society of Fellows, and the Aspen Music Festival. David loved music and he enjoyed singing and playing the trombone.

Joann and David embarked upon a whirlwind life of travel, culinary, music and art appreciation, which also included skiing, hiking, and international bike rides. This led to the establishment of the “Joann Gaddy Grimes Bike Ride to Fight Cancer.”

David often reflected, “I was led to the Lord” in the early 70’s, and his life changed dramatically. Reading the Bible cover to cover multiple times, he lived by one of his favorite verses,” To whom much is given, much is expected.” He was a longstanding member of First Presbyterian Church of Greensboro, NC.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Salvation Army of Greater Greensboro, Greensboro Urban Ministry, or Greensboro Habitat for Humanity.

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