What can I say about this soul mate of mine for over 40 years? Gary was a beautiful, thoughtful, loving man who was always coming up with ideas and concepts well before his time. Maybe he was a dreamer — he believed there could be positive outcomes even in times of much adversity. Gary was passionate about the natural environment and its wildlife, plants, geology, celestial events and spending time with his cameras and video gear capturing the wonders of nature. He also loved recreating in the wilds — running rivers, backpacking, mountain climbing, cross country skiing and simple “namby-pamby” day hikes with his friends and beloved Alaskan Malamutes.
Gary grew up in the Soda Springs area of southeast Idaho from humble beginnings. His father died when he and his brother, Dave, were very young. His mother Helen re-married years later and they gave Gary another brother, Pat. Gary had a son, Rick, by his first marriage and we were both heartbroken when Rick passed away in 2013.
Gary attended Idaho State University from 1958 to 1965 and graduated with a BA in Psychology and an MA ED in Educational Psychology. He then attended the University of Oregon to pursue an advanced Ph.D degree program by setting up an interdisciplinary independent study project with professors from various disciplines. After 4 years, and with the advice from some of his professors, he decided to put full time into the unique U. of O. Outdoor Program to see its potential rather than try to do research study for a PhD program.
It was 1967 when Gary and others developed the idea of using a Common Adventure ride/bulletin board to allow individuals to share ideas for outings and conservation projects with others. The U. of O. Outdoor Program (OP) was born and in 1968 Gary started his career as the Coordinator of this unique program. During his 14 year involvement with the OP, he was involved in the creation of many outdoor, wilderness and environmental projects and attended many regional and national conferences presenting papers and multimedia shows on these topics.
From 1971-1978 Gary sprearheaded the Denali Arctic Environmental Project, with numerous “clean-up” climbs on both the West Buttress and Muldrow Routes of Denali (Mt. McKinley) and two ski-sled expeditions into the Denali National Park area in Alaska. On one West Buttress climb in 1976, we were uncovering a massive garbage dump left by previous climbers when a Department of Interior Undersecretary appeared and agreed to take our message to Washington DC.
The Lower Salmon River Cleanup was another unique Common Adventure OP environmental project that Gary was involved with. This "largest ever volunteer cleanup effort of a non-disaster area" was sustained for 3 years (1974-1976) and was awarded a National Environmental Award in 1976.
Many of these wild land environmental projects were initiated after two conferences were organized by the OP. In 1974, the Wilderness Use Ethics Conference drew participants from across the US to discuss how wilderness and river users and managers could solve overuse and environmental impact problems. This Wilderness and Individual Freedom Conference was organized and coordinated by the OP in 1976 and was highlighted by unique outdoor environmentalists like Edward Abbey, Willi Unsoeld, and David Brower.
In 1979, Gary and I embarked on our journey with Mountain Visions. We produced and presented North American multi-image concert tours with a goal to raise funds to ski across Antarctica to raise awareness of the 1990 Antarctic Treaty. From 1980 through 1984 we traveled across the US and Canada several times showing hundreds of Mountain Visions Multi-Image concerts highlighting environmental and outdoor recreation values. We used a concert sound system, 36 foot wide projection screen and 12 slide projectors. We featured panoramas that would fill the entire screen area. Gary and I were married in late 1980.
By 1984 we started producing Multi-image projects for outdoor and environmental groups that were primarily shown at Town Hall Meetings to stimulate input and discussion on various issues. In 1995 we started creating a few interactive CD-ROMs and then concentrated on the development of interactive web sites. Links to some of these can be found in our Web Site Gallery. Many of these web site projects involved extensive photography and videography in the field and took us to Alaska, Jamaica, across the US several times and to many places in the Western US. One of our specialties was the development of digital Immersive Panoramas for use with many of these web sites. Gary was also shooting Gigapixel Panoramas and we also developed several Google Earth projects and “tours” along with the web sites. Still photography and videography were an integral part of our productions over the years and also a personal passion. Some still images can be viewed here. The HD Video Gallery highlights a few projects. Gary dove right into the digital world with his photography and videography and one of his last pro bono volunteer productions was for Medicaid For Idaho and the whole thing was shot solely with his iPhone.
These last few years, Gary has been involved in various projects and causes, including the Speak for Wolves annual conferences, rallies for net neutrality, climate change awareness, sustainability, human and wildlife rights, and many other environmental causes. He was often behind the lens documenting these events and sharing on his social media platforms.
Gary was very excited about viewing a second total solar eclipse and wrote about it often. We had viewed the 1979 Total Solar Eclipse in the Judith Mountains in Montana. Gary wrote in a November 2016 blog entry; “I can imagine brighter days in the near future when Americans start to get smarter about science and more personally involved in environmental and ecosystem issues before, during and after the sun comes out from behind the moon at the Total Solar Eclipse next August 21, 2017.” We viewed and photographed that amazing phenomenon from the Big Hole Mountains in Idaho looking east to the Tetons.
Our last camping trip was a break from our normal trip over by Yellowstone, since the weather had turned really cold. Instead we headed down to SE Utah and visited the new Bear’s Ears National Monument and other canyon land and forest areas. Gary has always been very passionate about photography and his last panorama posted on his Facebook Page was the large crowd at the Women’s March in Boise.
Gary and I have only been a few years without at least one Alaskan Malamute as a companion. He has always been very supportive of my last eleven years involvement with Alaskan Malamute rescue volunteer work and was always taking either one of our Mals or a foster Mal out for a walk every day. Of course, he always had his camera with him.
I know Gary touched the lives of many. Some of the comments I’ve received from old friends and colleagues: “he was an inspiration to many”, “the world is a better place for Gary and he will always be in our hearts”, “he was a huge influence in my life for so many years; empowering, supportive and always ready to pose a new challenge”, “a very special and beautiful man”, “he was such an important inspiration to me”, “I have so many great memories of the adventures we shared”, “he was always a great mentor. Whenever you wanted to talk about something in depth, he had a wonderful perspective. He truly influenced me to stay in the natural resources field.”
Gary will be missed by many including his brothers, Dave Grimm, Pat Clays and step-brother, Gino Sky. Gino wrote this beautiful poem and dedicated it to Gary. I read this as we were burying Gary in a “green” cemetery in the Idaho mountains. It was his wish to have a natural burial where his remains would be allowed to decompose naturally and recycle into the earth. Gary will be in my heart forever.
The Marriage of the Dreamer
for Gary Grimm
You are the marriage
as man, as father, as husband
as you give yourself into beauty - earth.
You are the marriage of the food
cooked by the fire
as you give yourself into the phoenix.
You are the marriage of the sun
living in ancient trees
as you give yourself into the forests.
You are the marriage of the rivers
and the saline waters of birth
as you give yourself into the ocean.
You are the marriage of the clouds
flying as one pure light
as you give yourself into mountains.
You are the marriage of the streams
singing in your sweet water voice
as you give yourself into song.
You are the marriage of the snow
in the high passes between clouds
as you give yourself into spring.
You are the marriage of one breath
that is always pure
as you give yourself into all visions.
You are the marriage of one sacred journey
that is truly yours
as you give yourself
the marriage of the dreamer.