GRIMM - Shawn J. Shawn J. Grimm died peacefully at home at age 70, on November 18, 2021. Though he battled and lived resolutely with a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis over the last 30 years, his health declined rapidly in his final months. Shawn was born in Buffalo, NY on July 15, 1951, to Marjorie and John Grimm of South Buffalo. He graduated from Bishop Timon high school in 1969 and received his bachelor's degree from Canisius College in 1973. While in college, he began working for General Mills where his dedication to the rights of the working man and his interest in the labor movement took root. Shawn began his career in organized labor while working at General Mills in Buffalo, where he worked as Chief Steward for the GMI cereal plant and was a union representative at Local#36 of the American Federation of Grain Millers. He was appointed in 1983 to the position of International Representative of the Grain Millers union and relocated to Lancaster, PA with his wife and children for a brief time to assist in servicing and organizing the Eastern District. He returned to Buffalo in 1987 to be close to family and friends and was re-elected to a four-year term as northeastern vice president of the AFGM. As a member of the Executive Board of the AFGM, he was instrumental in his position as an International VP working toward the Jan 1st, 1999, merger of the AFGM, AFL-CIO, to the Bakery, Confectionary and Tobacco workers union (BCT, AFL-CIO), creating BCTGM, AFL-CIO, CLC. As an international VP, Shawn serviced the Eastern District, and would travel extensively along the East coast of the United States and into Canada. He was a skilled negotiator, respected for his integrity, honesty, and dedication to the rights of workers to collectively organize and secure safe, secure jobs with livable wages and benefits. Shawn loved his job, and all his work/life experiences. As a teenager, he worked as a runner for the Buffalo Bills football organization and told many stories of this unique experience and how he had enjoyed talking with Mr. Ralph Wilson. He also volunteered for a brief time serving children with physical and emotional disabilities. His love of children and his dedicated advocacy to workers' rights were unshakable drivers of action in his lifetime of service. Despite his tenure and work as an International VP, there was never any confusion in Shawn's life re:his priority to his family first. His "baby sister" Kristin remained close to him throughout their lives and was a source of many good laughs and long conversations by phone on a weekly basis. His best friend was his mother Marjorie ("Mag"), and he spent many good times on short trips with his beloved mother, father, and wife and children, creating legacy and memories that now provide comfort to all who knew him. While not applauded or honored for this accolade, Shawn not only suggested his wife's pursuit of a degree in medicine, but also selflessly supported this pursuit during her time in medical school and residency, all done while continuing his work and caring for 3 school aged children. He lived this challenge as he lived his life, as an adventure, and his children will remember always his "magical mystery tours" (short trips to various locations which were always left a surprise), his impromptu culinary creations, and providing a calming sense of normalcy and fun in the face of oftentimes chaotic schedules. He was diagnosed with MS while Katie was a second-year medical student, but this, and Katie's later diagnosis of breast cancer while a 4th year student and resident, only served to bring him closer to his life's ambition of prioritizing his wife and children as his most important legacy. Holidays, in particular, will always contain incredibly special memories for his children and family because of the traditions Shawn began, such as dinner at Eckl's in Orchard Park every Christmas Eve. He loved taking his family on trips to such places as Disney and Universal Studios in Orlando, the Riviera hotel in Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, Allegany State Park, among others. His joy in life was being with his children and he delighted in hearing about their lives. After retirement, he loved to travel to Charleston to visit 2 of his 3 children who lived there for some time, on his way to Venice Beach Florida. He was very fond of Venice Beach Florida--its beach, its warmth, and his good Canadian friends there, particularly Anthony and Bill. He and his wife would walk often to the beach while there, he on his motorized scooter. Many beautiful sunsets were enjoyed on this beach, and treasured time was spent on the small patio behind their condominium there, listening to music, particularly Sinatra and Bocelli. When he retired due to his MS, he maintained many of his relationships with his union brothers and sisters until his disease progressed in his later years. His dear friend, Jimmy, honored him by always checking in daily or 2 to 3 times weekly, even during the last days and months of Shawn's life. His family will always be grateful to this friend, who remained devoted to their friendship. He reminded all whom he touched to treasure the moments; that a life well lived could be one devoted to "cleaning up your own backyard" and serving the community and family that was nearby. Shawn was the rare example of a man who never once lost sight of who and what was of paramount importance in life; family, friendship and enjoying each day with those you love. His example will live on in his children, family and all who were lucky enough to have spent but a moment in his presence. Shawn was cremated, and his remains will be buried near his beloved parents and brother Jeffrey at Holy Cross Cemetery. A memorial to Shawn will also be dedicated in Venice Beach Florida.
Shawn J. GRIMM