Charles Cullen Grimes, of Southport, better known as Mike Grimes, passed peacefully on Oct. 19 with his wife Anne of 61 years at his side. Born in Norman, Okla. on June 11, 1931, he was raised in rural Oklahoma during the Great Depression, one of four children of Lillian and Paschal Grimes. Mike grew up in Clinton, Okla. and attended the University of Oklahoma before heading west to study physics at Stanford University. He served four years in the U.S. Navy and attended Officer Candidate School in Newport, R.I., where he met Anne Maher. Naval service sent him to San Diego, and Mike and Anne were married in La Jolla, Cal. on Nov. 11, 1957. Mike’s Naval service included teaching radar operations at the Navy’s electronics school in San Diego.
The couple lived in California while Mike attended the University of California at Berkeley and earned a Ph.D. in physics, graduating in 1962. Their first two children, Susan and Andrew, were born there. Mike accepted a position as an experimental physicist at Bell Labs in Murray Hill, N.J., so the family moved east. Their final child, Anne, was born when they lived in Summit, N.J.
Mike’s research at Bell Laboratories focused on experimental low temperature solid state physics. His best known experiment involved super-cooling electrons on the surface of liquid helium until they stopped moving and formed a hexagonal crystalline structure. Working at temperatures just above absolute zero, Mike ran one of the coldest experiments in the world at that time; his research has been referenced over 1,000 times and continues to be cited in recent academic papers.
The family first came to Southport for the launch of a turnabout built by fellow Bell Labs scientist Denis McWhan. From that time forward, the Grimes family spent summers in Southport. The boy from Oklahoma learned to sail by reading about aerodynamics and hydrodynamics, then tried his hand in a turnabout. Mike enjoyed sailing on the Sheepscot River and served as fleet captain for the Southport Yacht Club. Mike and Anne retired to Cozy Harbor in Southport in 1993. Mike joined the Boothbay Region Land Trust board of directors and helped clear trails at many local properties. He enjoyed serving as caretaker at Porter Point and using his carpentry skills to build kiosks for the Land Trust. Mike and Anne were recognized by the Land Trust as volunteers of the year in 2002.
Mike is survived by wife, Anne Grimes, who lives at Saint Andrews Village; children, Susan Grimes McPhee, Andrew Grimes, and Anne Grimes Rand of Massachusetts and summer residents of Southport; and grandchildren, Kate McPhee and Will McPhee of Winchester, Mass., Alice Grimes and Rachel Grimes of Reading, Mass., and Martha Rand of Ipswich, Mass.
Friends are invited to attend an open house in celebration of Mike’s life from 2-4 p.m., Sun., Nov. 11 at the family’s home, 33 Cozy Harbor Rd., Southport.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Boothbay Region Land Trust, PO Box 183, Boothbay Harbor, ME 04538, or bbrlt.org.
To extend online condolences, please visit hallfuneralhomes.com.
Hall’s of Boothbay has care of the arrangements.