On May 7 of 2012, the world lost a wise soul, a gentle spirit, and a woman of great strength. Veronica Ann McCarty Grimes, 97, resided in Minot, N.D., for 57 years, where she was a Professor Emeritus of Elementary Education at Minot State University. Upon leaving Minot, Veronica was welcomed into the homes of her Minnesota families for seven years, prior to her need for assisted living at Edgewood Vista in Brainerd, Minn. Veronica is now welcomed into the house of the Lord.
Veronica was born on Oct. 14, 1914, to Walter G. and Alice (O’Connor) McCarty of Mapleton, Minn. She was the eldest of four children. She was raised in Fargo, N.D., where she attended St. Anthony of Padua and Agassiz Elementary schools, Agassiz Junior High, and graduated from Fargo Central HS in 1932. She obtained her standard teaching certificate from Moorhead State Teacher’s College in 1934, her bachelor’s degree from Minot State University in 1956 and her master’s of education degree from the University of ND in 1970. A lifelong learner, Veronica completed her academic journey at a master’s plus 60. She belonged to many professional organizations, served on the Committee of 100 for the National Council of Teachers of English and served as regional president of the American Association of University Professors.
Veronica was the consummate professional educator. She was an astute academic who absolutely loved children. For 30 years, she inspired, empowered and instructed hundreds of children, teaching them self-reliance and motivating them to be all that they could be. She used to say that it was important “to teach right up to their eyebrows, wherever that particular child’s eyebrows may be.”
Veronica’s teaching career began in 1934, during the depths of the Depression, when she taught in a one-room school house at Tower City, N.D. — nine miles from the nearest phone. The self-reliant Miss McCarty would gather tumbleweeds from nearby fences to start the fire. “I think I invented the hot lunch program,” she would chuckle. She instructed her students to bring their soup and casseroles in glass jars, to heat all morning on the parlor stove that warmed the schoolhouse. She taught grades 1-8. She was 19...and a spirited pioneering educator.
Next, Veronica taught in Michigan, N.D., where discipline was in such disarray, that the superintendent had fired most of his staff. Two huge burly brothers, ages 21 and 23, were in her high school choir. Hooligans with a fisticuffs lifestyle, they towered over her and informed her, “That ain’t the way we do things ‘round here, Miss McCarty.” And Miss McCarty, also 21, all 5’2” and 108 pounds of her, handled it all just fine...calmly, with great strength, certainty and compassion. Later Veronica taught at a private juvenile correctional facility for girls at the Good Shepherd Convent in Seattle, Wash., as well as in Edgerton, Wis. Finally, Veronica settled in at Minot (ND) State University, where she was to teach Elementary Education at the Campus School for 24 years, 1956-1980. She supervised hundreds of student teachers, provided demonstration teaching for methods classes and inspired generations with her strength, her love of learning and her deep-seated respect for children.
But Veronica was first and foremost a stellar wife and mother. She was married for 51 years to the love of her life, John F. Grimes, Minot businessman. John preceded her in death in 1991. Veronica and John met bobbing for apples at a Halloween party at the tender age of 17 and immediately became close friends. They married at age 26 on July 20, 1940, at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church, Fargo. Community leaders, Veronica and John were well known around Minot and were often sighted, in later years, strolling hand in hand. Veronica’s quiet and steady demeanor was a fine balance to John’s gregarious charm. This 100 percent Irish couple faithfully loved each other for more than 60 years.
Veronica was also preceded in death by her parents; and her three beloved siblings, Monica DuCharme, Margaret Wilson and Roy McCarty.
Veronica is survived by her four children: daughter, Ann (Dennis) Bertrand, of Nisswa, Minn.; daughter, Peggy Conaway Bergtold (Chuck Bergtold), of Santa Cruz, Calif.; daughter, Trudy (Jim) Troutfetter, of Chaska, Minn.; and son, Bill (Terri) Grimes, of Pine River, Minn. She is survived also by six beloved grandchildren: Anne Conaway Peters, Katie Bertrand Pascoal, John Bertrand, Erin Troutfetter Jude, Ryan Grimes and Chris Grimes. Veronica had seven great-grandchildren: Andre, Aedan, Hailey, Amy, Sophie, Max and Etta...with another on the way.
Veronica frequently referred to the 16 years she invested solely toward raising her own children as “the most important and most enjoyable years of my life.” She was an amazing mother. She radiated love. She thought of her children first, modeled strength, wisdom and compassion, and was able to find just the right words to nurture her children on their journeys. In later years, she tenderly cared for her husband through many years of declining health, took care of her invalid mother for 15 years, and while teaching for 30 years, still managed to bake cinnamon rolls on quiet Saturday mornings. She quietly sprinkled the world with graciousness every day of her life.
Veronica was a woman of great contentment and world-class strength. Her inner temple glowed. We will miss her great spirit. She often would say, “My guardian angel has always been very, very good to me.” She was extremely close to her Lord.
Mass of Christian Burial will take place at St. Christopher’s, Nisswa, Minn., on Monday, May 14, with visitation at 10 a.m. and Mass at 11 a.m. Burial will be in Mapleton, Minn.
If desired, memorials could be sent to the John F. and Veronica A. Grimes Scholarship Fund at Minot State University, Advancement Office, 500 University Avenue West, Minot, ND 58707.
Arrangements are with Nelson-Doran Funeral Home. www.nelson-doran.com