Even then, he had to be prompted a bit. But Grimm knew his potential. He could be both calm and resolute in advocating for neighbors.
Those who knew him in his district in Richmond's South Side say that in his short term, he helped awaken a sense of citizenship in a community that had taken to dozing off from time to time.
In 2002, after coming close as a write-in candidate to beating incumbent Joe Brooks, who died June 26, 2003, Grimm seemed to embrace what his friends, family and supporters already knew: Politics had a place for him.
In November 2003, Grimm was elected to City Council, succeeding Brooks first in public office, and now in death.
Grimm's friends say his integrity and commitment to good government were deeply rooted, sure as the trees along his beloved James River. Voters identified with Grimm, they say, because he was a taxpayer and regular guy, embarrassed and at times outraged by what he saw as wasteful and sometimes corrupt city government. He didn't know all the nuances of the power structure in Richmond. He didn't care to.
"Pete was very independent," says John Girardi, a 4th-District resident who urged Grimm to run for City Council and ended up a close friend. "He had a statesmanlike quality to him."
When campaigning door-to-door with Grimm in the late summer before the election, Girardi recalls pleading with the candidate each afternoon to stay out until dusk to meet people. Grimm routinely refused. He didn't want to disrupt what he considered family time for his neighbors, for himself. He cherished it most. His residence on Old Gun Road is called "Mont Clare." He and his wife, Karen, labored long to restore it and its lilting grassy knolls.
"I'm going home," he'd tell Girardi, "It's my dinnertime, too." Brandon Walters
Letters to the editor may be sent to: email@example.com