Resident Augustinian dies after 76 years of priesthood

Jen Woytovich

On April 12, 2005 the University lost an influential and outstanding member of the community. Rev. Edwin T. Grimes, O.S.A., died at the St. Thomas of Villanova Monastery, just three days short of his 97th birthday. He was the oldest living member of the Province of Saint Thomas of Villanova.

Fr. Grimes was born in Philadelphia, Pa. on April 14, 1908. His Catholic-based education is rooted in a variety of institutions worldwide.

He began his studies at Saint Aloysius Academy in West Chester and attended high school at Mount St. Mary Preparatory School.

He went on to attend several colleges and universities, including Villanova University, Augustinian College, Catholic University, Oxford University and the University of Pennsylvania.

At these institutions he pursued his undergraduate degree in theological studies and obtained his Master’s degree in history.

Fr. Grimes was received into the novitiate in September 1928 and a year later professed his first vows.

Throughout his years he provided a great spiritual service to the Philadelphia community.

Fr. Grimes served for nearly forty years in parish ministry in the Philadelphia area; he spent the majority of the years at St. Denis’ Parish in Havertown, Penn. Fr. Grimes served the Villanova community primarily from 1941 to 1956.

During this time he held positions as professor, dormitory prefect and chaplain. He returned to reside in the St. Thomas of Villanova Monastery in 1997.

During World War II, Fr. Grimes kept in close contact with former students overseas, even going so far as to travel across country to attend funeral services.

He continued to show his sympathies toward former soldiers through his work with veterans. He was involved in various organizations to aid Catholic war veterans, including the Haverford Township Veteran’s Council.

Do to his long residence in the Philadelphia area and his training in the study of history, Fr. Grimes developed a deep understanding of the people and societies of historical Philadelphia.

Several of Fr. Grimes’ parishioners wrote a few words in remembrance of a man who deeply inspired them. These friends depicted Fr Grimes as having been a “gentle giant.”

Words like inspirational, warm, understanding and compassionate were used to describe the character of man whose life was well and long lived.

Fr. Grimes was an outstanding member of the Augustinian community.

Villanova was blessed to have been given the chance to be a part of such a bright, pious and virtuous life.