Remembering ‘York’s brightest star’: Voni Grimes

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YORK, Pa. -- Tonight, friends, family, and many people in York remember and mourn a community leader who passed away Friday.

Voni Grimes lived to be 95-years-old. He spent those years volunteering, teaching, and making people smile, according to those who knew him.

Voni Grimes - known as ‘York’s brightest star’ is remembered for lighting up every room he entered.

“He was always quietly sharing inspiration, and being a wonderful ambassador for York City," said Mayor Michael Helfrich.

“He just loved meeting one more person and saying hi and sharing a smile with people," said Doug Eppler with the York revolution.

Frequently playing the harmonica during the 7th inning stretch for the York Revolution, he became a stadium staple. 

“They had to drag him out of here. He didn’t want to leave. He was having too nice a time chatting with his fellow citizens, and his neighbors, and friends," said Eppler.

Friends and family say he cherished his life, and he lived his 95 years admirably.

“He was always interested in the blues, but he never played the blues, and he would say, ‘I got to learn to play the blues,' and I would say, ‘well, Mr. Grimes, you have to have the blues in ya, and I’ve never seen you with the blues in ya," said Parker James Hooker, a friend and fellow harmonica player.

“How he made it? Love. That man was full of love, like honestly. You never saw him without a smile," said April Collier, his niece. “He was a peoples' activist. Call it what you want. He was an advocate for York City. He was an advocate for youth. He was an advocate for just life. So you know, it’s hard to put a label on somebody like that.”

His life’s work inspiring the Voni Grimes Gym and a mural on its walls, a legacy family members hope lives on.

“Just love. Come together. Don’t stop it just because the funeral ends. Keep it going," said Collier.

The name of the gym could be changed to the 'Voni Grimes Community Center', according to Mayor Helfrich. A name he says is better suited for the building's purpose. Grime’s family will have the ultimate say, though.

The viewing for grimes is scheduled for Friday from 6-8 p.m. at the Small Memorial AME Zion Church in York. 

His celebration of life will be Saturday at 10 a.m., also at the Zion Church in York.

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