By Kevin Wilson
Two things were a constant in Vida Mae Grimshaw’s family — an appreciation for the Lord, and the name George.
Grimshaw died July 19 at Heartland Continuing Care, concluding 92 years of teaching her children and grandchildren how to have a fun life and at the same time lead a Christian life.
“She made sure all of us children were in church and she always believed in being on time,” said son George Noel Grimshaw. “She taught us about loving Christ, so we knew and all accepted Jesus as our savior.”
George Grimshaw was a common name in the family, and members with that name would often go by their middle name or a nickname. When Noel grew up in Elida, he received a nickname of “Porky” after he made a mispronounciation in a poem about Georgy Porgy.
George Howard Grimshaw, Noel’s son, said he wasn’t known by his first name until he moved to California City, Calif. in the late 1960s. He came back last week for Vida Mae’s funeral in Elida, where people remember him as Howard.
At the funeral, he remembered Vida Mae as a grandmother who was almost always a fun person.
“One of the things we elaborated on, she was kind of a country granny type of a person,” Howard Grimshaw said. “When friends meet her, they always think of somebody like Minnie Pearl. What you see is what you got.”
What they had was a woman born Sept. 17, 1911 in Goldthwaite, Texas. Vida Mae always had a Christian influence in her life. According to a eulogy Vida Mae had spent her final years preparing, she was the sixth of seven children born to Bama and Rev. R.W. Bynum. She was born at about 8 a.m., giving R.W. enough time to head to his country church and deliver the sermon.
In May 1925, the family moved to Elida, which she considered her earthly home. Three years after moving to Elida, she married George D. Grimshaw and had four children.
She gained several family members over the years through marriages and births, and members never left the family. Nina Jo Grimshaw of Tucumcari is the widow of Vida Mae’s son Charles, and she was a part of Vida Mae’s life after Charles’ death in 1997.
“She was in the nursing home for 6 1/2 years,” Nina Jo said. “Since the boys were in N.C. (Thad) and Calif. (George Howard), I took care of her.”
Nina Jo said it never took too much to please Vida Mae — maybe some news about the family members and a flower now and then were enough.
“Her favorite flower was the yellow rose,” Nina Jo said. “Any time I had a yellow rose, I brought it to her.”
Nina Jo wasn’t alone in the updates, though. Vida Mae’s children and grandchildren would always make efforts to visit her, and she’d make it worth their while every time with stories and songs.
“She was just a real special friend,” said longtime friend Evelyn Kiker of Portales. “She enjoyed her boys. They were always so good to come and see their parents and take care of them in the last few years.”
Kiker said she met Vida Mae in Elida many years ago, and a friendship formed that bridged a generation gap.
“Most of the time, we’d just sit and visit,” Kiker said. “We lived six miles away and she would drive out. When my daughter was at home, she would do her hair. Sometimes on Sunday evening, I would take her out, we would visit the cemetery. She liked to visit (her husband) George.”
When Vida Mae lived in Elida, she was an active member of the First Baptist Church and the Elida Women’s Club. She taught Sunday school classes throughout her adult life. Vida was an avid gardener and pianist and loved to sing gospel music.
In 1987, she moved to Portales and lived at the Golden Acres Retirement Home. Ten years later, she moved to Clovis and lived at the Buena Vista Retirement Center. She lived at Heartland Continuing Care for the final few weeks of her life.
She was never afraid of her death, and told her family that she looked forward to seeing her husband in the afterlife.
“She was always ready to go,” Thad Grimshaw said. “She said her ticket was paid for and she was talking about heaven.”