Maxine Grimm, LDS Church Pioneer in the Philippines, Dies at Age 102

Contributed By Sarah Jane Weaver, Church News associate editor

  • 17 February 2017

Maxine T. Grimm, at age 99, holds one of her cats, Oliver, in her home in Tooele, Utah, Tuesday, August 6, 2013.  Photo by Ravell Call, Deseret News.

Article Highlights

  • Sister Maxine Shields Grimm died at age 102 on February 10, 2017, in Tooele, Utah.
  • Sister Grimm helped open the doors for missionary work in the Philippines.
  • President Hinckley said she did all she could to teach the gospel to others.

Maxine Tate Shields Grimm, 102—whose pioneering efforts for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Philippines helped make it possible for LDS missionaries to begin work in the nation in the early 1960s—died February 10, 2017, in Tooele, Utah.

Sister Grimm, born May 18, 1914, entered the Philippines as a Red Cross worker in 1945. A year later she married E. M. “Pete” Grimm, a U.S. Army colonel, and the couple made their home in Manila. In the following years she and her husband, who joined the Church in 1967, worked to open doors for the Church across Asia.

Sister Grimm was present at almost every important occasion that led to the opening of missionary work in the Philippines, according to an August 1997 Ensign article, “‘Faithful, Good, Virtuous, True’: Pioneers in the Philippines.” “Her home was the center of Church activity; most of the first 2,000 baptisms in Manila were performed in the Grimm swimming pool. Sister Grimm played her portable pump organ, which she had transported throughout the war, at many Church meetings and special occasions.”

Speaking of the beginning of missionary work in the Philippines, President Gordon B. Hinckley gave the following account at BYU on March 6, 1977:

“When the history of the work in the Philippines is properly written, it must include the story of Sister Maxine Grimm, whom some of you may know—a girl from Tooele, Utah, who served with the Red Cross in the Pacific campaigns of the Second World War. She married an American army officer, and after the war they established their home in Manila.

Maxine T. Grimm, at age 99, poses for a photo in her home in Tooele, Tuesday, August 6, 2013. Photo by Ravell Call, Deseret News.

Photo of Maxine T. Grimm when she was young. Photo courtesy of Maxine T. Grimm.

“She did all she could to teach the gospel to others; she pleaded that missionaries be sent. Her husband had legal work done and did many other things to make it possible for the missionaries to come. It would have been much easier for them to have simply gone along their way, making money, and enjoying the fruits of it, but Sister Grimm was unceasing in her efforts and in her pleas.

“I had responsibility for the work in Asia at that time, and I carried her pleas to the First Presidency, who, in 1961, authorized the extension of formal missionary work to that land. In May of 1961 we held a meeting to begin the work. … Sister Grimm played the little portable organ she had carried through the campaigns of the Pacific war, and we sang the songs of Zion in a strange land. We bore testimony together and invoked the blessings of heaven on what we were to begin there. Present was one native Filipino member of the Church.

“That was the beginning of something marvelous, the commencement of a miracle. The rest is history, discouraging at times and glorious at others. I was there for the area conference held … with President Kimball and others. …

“I wept as I thought of the earlier years, and I remembered with appreciation the woman who largely forgot her own interests as she relentlessly pursued her dream of the day when the Church would be strong in the land in which she then lived, bringing happiness of a kind previously unknown to thousands of wonderful people. But, you say, if we were in an exotic place like the Philippines, we would do likewise. I would hope so. But let me say that opportunities are all around us to stretch our lives and our interests in behalf of others.”

Today there are 728,295 Latter-day Saints, 21 missions, 176 family history centers, 1,201 congregations, and 2 temples in the Philippines.

Sister Grimm is survived by her two children: E. M. “Pete” Grimm and Linda G. Lawyer. She was preceded in death by her husbands Veldon Shields (1940) and Edward M. “Pete” Grimm (1977).

Funeral services for Sister Grimm are scheduled for Saturday, February 18, at 11:00 a.m. in the Skyline Ward Building, 777 Skyline Dr., Tooele, Utah.

Maxine T. Grimm, at age 99, plays the piano in her home in Tooele, Tuesday, August 6, 2013. Photo by Ravell Call, Deseret News.