Robert Eugene Grames

Robert Eugene Grames

Birth
Elkhart, Elkhart County, Indiana, USA
Death 13 Mar 1995 (aged 67)
Alton, Madison County, Illinois, USA
Burial Godfrey, Madison County, Illinois, USA
Memorial ID 120518735 · View Source
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How do you compress a life well lived into a space on a web page? How do you capture all the wonderful moments that go beyond what appears in a typical obituary? I don’t believe it can be done adequately. My Dad, as was everyone, lived a life more complex than can be presented in one column by three inches of newspaper type.

My brother, Ron, authored and read the eulogies at both my Mom’s and Dad’s funerals and did a masterful job of capturing each of their unique personalities. I want to present both of those eulogies on each of their respective memorials. They are both longer than what one normally reads on these pages, but I believe they are worth spending a few minutes to read.

But first, the basics…

Robert Eugene Grames was born on August 11, 1927 in Elkhart, Elkhart County, Indiana. He was the second of the two children born to Ralph Emerson and Florence Jane (Evans) Grames. His sister, Dorothy Grames Beacham, survives as of this writing. She is the last remaining aunt or uncle on either side of my family.

Bob grew up in Elkhart and graduated from Elkhart Central High School in 1945.

Bob also served in the US Army Air Corps from 1945 to 1947.

Dad met the love of his life, Jean Marie Marks, in Elkhart sometime in 1947. They married there on June 26, 1949 while Dad was on summer break from Purdue University. Mom survived him for another 20 years, passing on in 2015.

Dad’s career as a chemical engineer kept them on the move for almost 25 years. Mom and Dad lived in Michigan, Utah, Texas and Wisconsin before finally settling down in Godfrey, Illinois in 1975. His three sons were born during those earlier years in Michigan and Utah. Ronald and his wife Lynn, Arthur and his wife Linda, and Charles and his wife Sandra survive. At the time of his death Dad had seven grandchildren. Another grandchild and nine great grandchildren have been born since.

Bob passed on March 13, 1995 in his 68th year of life.

The following eulogy was read by Ron Grames at his funeral service at Godfrey 1st United Methodist Church on March 16, 1995.

I think you said it best, Mom, on the way home from the hospital Monday morning. “Your father was a very complex man.” He was a man who dearly loved his family, worked hard to provide for them and see to their future security, who took great pride in their accomplishments - and who often hurt them deeply because his inability to acknowledge those feelings led him to withdrawal and silence. He was a man who was an engineer of considerable talent, who valued order and structure and efficiency of design - and who cluttered his life with time-wasting activities and irrelevant “stuff.” He was a man of intelligence, vision, conviction and talent whose self-doubt and need to be perfect often kept him from accomplishing what he wanted and needed to do. He was a man who wanted to be with people, and to be liked and admired, but he often offended people because he was so uncomfortable with small talk and often avoided contact with others to avoid the social clumsiness he found in himself. And he was a man who could take great delight in the simplest of the pleasures that life has to offer, but often missed experiencing those pleasures because depression robbed him of the energy to pursue them.

Please understand. These are not in any way criticisms of Dad. They might have been when we were silly adolescents who thought we knew how things should be and had yet to learn how little we actually know. Now these are statements of affection, and admiration, and pride. Dad was a complex man. A man of great strengths and perplexing contradictions. A man as God makes all men, and we have come to celebrate that whole person, not an idealized image. Dad would have wanted it that way, we feel sure. He seemed to value, above all else, honesty, integrity and a clear vision of what is. To honor him with less than a full picture of who he was and what he fought against - at least as we can understand it - would be untrue to what, ultimately, Dad stood for.

Bob Grames was not a great man on whose actions events of the world turned. He was a good man on whose values and efforts a strong family could be built. He was a faithful husband, a concerned father, a proud grandpa. He was an exemplary provider for his family, who placed their needs - present and future - above all other concerns. We may have chaffed against his frugality when we were younger, but each of us has benefited from his foresight in later years. He was a devoted member of his church and valued his church family and the support they provided, especially in this last difficult year. He was a man of faith, whose resulting strength was an inspiration to all those around him.

But perhaps a couple of “Dad stories” will give a better picture of this man we honor and celebrate today.

First a story about his frugality, of which, I’m sure, those of you who knew him were aware. Grames is a Scottish name. The image of the penny-pinching Scot, with the tightly-clasped purse, could have been based on Dad. Not that he couldn’t be generous: he often was. And I can’t imagine anyone ever knew him to be dishonest in his dealings. But he was a driver of hard bargains and a pursuer of a “good deal.” Art should tell this story, which is quintessential Dad, because he was there. But I’ll try. Last fall, not long after he learned that his cancer had spread, he and Art went out to do some banking. Near the bank was a small men’s clothing shop. Dad asked Art to stop there first, and then, as they were getting out of the car, turned to him and said “I’m going to do something that may seem a little strange. Just don’t say anything, okay?” Art followed him in to a display of hats, including a fur hat which apparently Dad had seen and admired before. He took the hat, which was not inexpensive, up to the owner and explained to him in great detail how he had surgery for cancer, how it had moved to his lungs and how he probably didn’t have a long time to live. In fact this might be his last winter. He told the owner how much he liked the hat. Then he said, “How much will you sell it to me for?” He got it for ten dollars.

Another story, this one about his generosity. Several years ago, when the man living next door died, Dad and Mom provide help and support for Emily his widow. Dad was particularly moved by her plight and for some months thereafter provided assistance to her. He did repairs and maintenance around her house, went grocery shopping for her and ran other occasional errands to assist her, as she was unable to get around well herself. Dad never said much about it, or made any big deal, but it became a mission for him, I believe. Eventually Emily moved into a nursing home, but she credited Dad’s help with making it possible for her to stay in her home as long as she did.

One last story - a little more painful one perhaps - but revealing of Dad and pivotal one for me. While still a teenager, Dad and I had a fight about who-knows-what-now. We were a lot alike - stubborn and not really very good at expressing feelings - and in those days conflicts weren’t that unusual. This time though we both realized we had let things go too far and we ended up in my room to talk things out. It was one of the very few times I ever saw my dad cry. We talked about his father, and their relationship. About what he hoped for us and what he feared. And he said something really extraordinary. With tears in his eyes he said: “I guess maybe I just wasn’t cut out to be a father.” No self-pity. It was a statement from the heart. But foolish as I was then, I knew how wrong he was, and I told him so. I’m not sure he really believed me. I don’t think he was ever satisfied with himself, either as a father or as a husband. And certainly the relationships weren’t that easy. But Dad, you tried to teach us that easy isn’t always good. That certainly is true here. One of the last things I said to you, before you died was that I - that we - thought you were a great father. I meant it with all my heart. You gave us all more than we were ever able to give back in return. We will honor you always for all that you were and all that you strove so hard to be.

God bless you and comfort you, Dad. We miss you.


A cenotaph has been erected for Bob and Jean about a mile south at Godfrey Cemetery. I felt it was fitting considering the anonymity of burial locations in the prayer garden.


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  • Created by: Artiedeco
  • Added: 18 Nov 2013
  • Find a Grave Memorial 120518735
  • Artiedeco
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Robert Eugene Grames (11 Aug 1927–13 Mar 1995), Find a Grave Memorial no. 120518735, citing Godfrey First United Methodist Church Prayer Garde, Godfrey, Madison County, Illinois, USA ; Maintained by Artiedeco (contributor 48278429) .