Montgomery County remembers longtime judge who died from COVID-19

Judge Ray Grimes served on the juvenile court for 22 years
Posted at 8:34 PM, Dec 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-01 21:34:37-05

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Tuesday afternoon -- friends and family said goodbye to Judge Ray Grimes. The longtime juvenile court judge died from COVID-19 on Thanksgiving Day.

Flags across the county at half-staff in his honor. "Ray was a servant of the people and he was proud of it," said Judge Wayne C. Shelton, who served with Grimes for more than 22 years in Montgomery County's Juvenile Court.

Thousands of teenagers appeared before Judge Grimes during his time on the court -- ruling on everything from serious crimes to more minor offenses.

Montgomery County Mayor Jim Durrett recalled the time his daughter had to appear before Grimes for a traffic ticket. "Judge Grimes asked my wife, have you punished her? And she said no. And he said, well I’m going to," Durrett said with a chuckle.

Some might say tough. Judge Shelton would say tough love.

"Some of us are bleeding heart liberals, some of us are bleeding heart conservatives, but there’s nothing wrong with being a bleeding heart and that care and that outreach and that love for our fellow man," said Judge Shelton.

Shelton says he won't just miss Grimes's wealth of experience he brought to the bench, he'll miss the kind of person he was too. "I can’t help but get emotional at his loss," he said.

Shelton says he talked Grimes into making the three best decisions of his life: going to law school, running for judge and introducing him to Sharon, who would eventually become his wife. "So I always took credit for some of the high spots in his life," said Shelton.

High, low and every moment in-between -- Judge Shelton says it just won't be the same without Judge Grimes. "That’s what I’ll miss - just his presence," he said.

In lieu of flowers, you're asked to donate to the Montgomery County Recovery Court that he founded several years ago to help those struggling with addiction.