Gerald Grimes who died suddenly at his home at Hughes Park on March 20th was a member of an old and respected Dundalk family, widely known through engaging in the street vending of newspapers in town, an occupation in which his late father Thomas was involved outside local churches on Sundays.
Gerald, or 'Mungo' as he liked to be called, with his great love of the rock group Mungo Jerry was a colourful character who was a highly talented artist and one of Dundalk’s first tattoo artists and very much immersed in the culture and music of his era, and was a member of the Teddy Boys.
Profoundly deaf from a young age he was highly educated and a scholar and philosopher who studied and read up different religions and idolised the Argentinean born revolutionary Che Guevara who later became a pop cultural hero. He was an avid reader, with a collection of thousands of books
He had a particular fascination with the Middle East, especially Egypt and Arabia, which was reflected in the decoration of his home and love of the film” Laurence of Arabia.” It is believed it was the last film he saw when he could hear. “Gladiator” was another film for which he had a particular liking.
He always held the ambition to be a soldier which was indicative in his dress, preferring to wear combat gear. He was precluded however, from serving in his national and also the British army due to his disability but availed of the opportunity to join the Croatian army as a volunteer in the 1990s. He fought for a couple of years in the conflict against the Serbs.
He was determined not to allow his disability to hold him back and took part in tough physical sports, such as mixed martial arts, kick-boxing and boxing before they became as popular as they are today. He attended the Avenue Road gym, where his real talent as an artist was there for all to see with his murals of a Muscle Man and Woman on the front door.
He was for all that a kind, caring and helpful individual to his family, with a nature that appealed to children with a wonderful imagination and a gifted story-teller.
Born in England, his father Thomas was from Hughes Park and his mother Sheila was of English nationality. His sister Josephine, Culhane Street is the only survivor of five siblings, having been predeceased by his two brothers, Christopher and Thomas and sister, Theresa.
He attended schools to help him with his disability in England and when back in Dundalk. His parents moved to town to help care for his grandparents.
Gerald’s speech was highly developed and he was very adept at lip reading. But he will be most remembered for his ability as a tattooist, and carried it on until very recent years with his great love of painting and sketching, and his own body was extensively tattooed.
The advent of the internet and texting was a big boon to Gerald, discovering a voice he never had to connect with and make new friends who had similar interests as he had. He also re-connected with old Teddy Boy followers, travelling to a reunion in Battersea in England in 2015, and was to travel again this year.
All these old and new friends, but especially his family will greatly miss Gerald, headed by his children, Joseph, Maxine, Roisin and Rory, nieces, Lena, Sharon and Megan and nephew, Christopher, along with sister, Josephine and other relatives.
After reposing at McGeough’s Funeral Home, Jocelyn Home, Gerald was taken on the Wednesday to Saint Fursey’s Church Hagardstown where the Mass was a beautiful tribute of his life. Father Padraig Keenan PP was the celebrant and delivered a very apt eulogy
The music captured his taste, with two songs “I Believe I Can Fly” which had great meaning for Gerard as it was played at his Brother Christopher's funeral and “Time to Say Goodbye” which honoured his late mother.
Items symbolising his life taken to the altar included a tattoo machine, an Egyptian statue and army combat jacket. These were presented by Roisin, Rory and Leon Morrissey.
The Readings were given by nieces, Lena and Sharon, while the Prayers of the Faithful were led by Megan Grimes, Siobhan Breen, Edel Morrissey, Linda Zadani and Sarah Gray.
The Offertory Gifts were brought up by Lena and Megan.
A reflection after communion was provided by son, Joseph.
Burial took place in Saint Patrick’s cemetery Dowdallshill.
Month’s Mind Mass is on Easter Sunday, April 16 in Saint Fursey’s Church at 11am.