By Mickey Winfield: PNT Staff Writer
According to friends and family, Bobby Grimes spent several hours a
week on his garden. Grimes invested his time planting, watering and
guiding each individual plant to its full potential, and according to
those that knew him best, appreciating the fruit of his labor.
In much the same way, Grimes was devoted to helping guide and
protect the students at Portales High School for more than 40 years in
several capacities, with many years as the security officer and a rodeo
coach for area high schoolers.
“Anybody that has dedicated 40-some-plus years to service to our
district (cares about the kids),” Portales High School principal Melvin
Grimes died Friday at the age of 74.
Portales mayor Orlando Ortega Jr. is married to one of Grimes’ three daughters.
“He’d do anything for anyone,” Ortega said. “Anyone that came into
contact with Bobby always left with a good feeling. He was a good man —
all the way around.”
Joe Ann Bonds is a cousin of Grimes’ wife Betty.
“He loved kids,” Bonds said. “And he was one of the true people that was a man of his word.”
Spectators and parents at Portales basketball and volleyball games
likely saw a smiling Grimes at every home game in the foyer of the
“No matter what the score was in the game, no matter what event we
were having, he was always the positive encouragement of any
conversation we were having — even when he felt bad,” Nusser said.
Grimes was born in Arkansas in July of 1934, moving with his parents
to Portales soon after. He married Betty Ruth Luttrell in April of
1955, before entering the U.S. Army.
During his time in Portales, Grimes worked for several pump
companies as well as a local car dealership. He also operated several
service stations, including Bob’s 66.
Nusser told a story that happened recently when Grimes tripped over
a parking block before a PHS sporting event, cutting and injuring
himself and damaging his glasses. Nusser said Grimes still stayed and
watched the entire game to support the Portales athletes.
“He was a great man,” Nusser said. “And he loved his garden. My wife
and I would go see him and we’d take the truck and the next thing you
know, you’re bringing eight or nine plastic bags of produce home.”