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Fritz Grimsley

ORANGE COUNTY AUTO THEFT TASK FORCE
A Multijursidictional Law Enforcement Program

OCATT/CHP SERGEANT
ROBERT "FRITZ" GRIMSLEY
Retired 7/31/04

Ladies and Gentlemen:                                                                                            September 14, 2004

Once again it is my sad task to inform you of the loss of another friend and long-time WSATI member, CHP Sergeant Fritz Grimsley.

Fritz, recently recognized by the Southern Chapter at the July meeting in Oceanside, retired from the CHP in July at age 60.  On July 29th Fritz was recognized at a Division Chiefs' Meeting in Irvine with a Division Chief's Commendation for his years of service to the Highway Patrol.

Fritz was previously recognized by WSATI Southern Chapter on January 18th, 2001 when he won the Billy Osborn Memorial Award and in November 1999 when Fritz won the Washington State Patrol Trooper James E. Gain Award at the WSATI Central Chapter Training Seminar in Seaside.

Fritz fell into ill health within the past two and a half weeks and after trying to fight breathing problems finally passed away this morning at about 0545 hours.

Last night, numerous family members, CHP family members, and his OCATT family members surrounded Fritz in what the chaplain said was the largest outpouring of friendship and love he had witnessed in all his years.  The hospital probably broke a few rules allowing all of us into ICU, but what the heck...and thank you for your help Chaplain Bill. 

It goes without saying, but I will anyway, that Fritz was OCATT.  I know that Fritz took pride that OCATT was recognized in July by CHP Commissioner "Spike" Helmick with the first Commissioner's Unit Citation to be awarded to any task force.  This citation was the result of Fritz' ability to instill his work ethics in the numerous members who have worked at OCATT since 1993.

Fritz will be missed by us all.  For all of us who worked with Fritz at some time in our career, we know that he gave us something that will be with us forever.  He was more than a co-worker, boss, mentor... he was a friend ... and most importantly to those who really knew him, a true gunfighter...I'm afraid the last of the gunfighters.

I truly wish to thank OCATT Sergeant Joe Thrasher and OCATT Lieutenant Rick Pena who during the past two and a half weeks clearly showed that Fritz' long-time tradition of "taking care of the boys" is definitely in good hands.  To say they went beyond what anyone would ever expect is a huge understatement.

Information about the funeral arrangements are tentative but I wanted to get out the information as we have it.  Hopefully the delay in the actual funeral will allow many of Fritz' friends from outside the state, and outside the country, to attend.

Below the funeral and visitation information is a release issued by the Orange County District Attorneys Office today.

Funeral to take place Thursday, September 23rd, 2004 at 1000 hours at:

Calvary Chapel
3800 S. Fairview (at Sunflower)
Santa Ana, CA 92704
714) 979-4422

Visitation to take place Wednesday, September 22nd, 2004 1400-1930 hours at:

Pacific View Mortuary
3500 Pacific View Drive
Corona del Mar, CA 92660
(949) 644-2700

Sadly, Gary

-----Original Message-----
Subject: Condolences ~ Sgt. Fritz Grimsley
    Date: Tue, 14 Sep 2004 10:30:26 -0700
   From: "Urban, Ruby" 

Pete Pierce and Don Blankenship forwarded the following information for those of you who knew and worked with Sgt. Grimsley.

It is a sad day as a very good friend, co-worker, and wonderful detective, CHP Sgt. Fritz Grimsley was taken off the respirator last night and he died this morning at 0545 am, PDT.

To recap, he had retired just last month at the CHP mandatory age of 60.  He was a foundling sergeant / supervisor at OCATT.  He had suffered a heart attack and lung collapse about two weeks ago, and he has been in the hospital since then.  On Sunday, his second lung collapsed and he was put on the ventilator and slipped into a coma.  His family decided to take him off the ventilator last night as nothing else could be done.

Sgt. Grimsley started with CHP in 1966.  He was promoted to sergeant in 1974.  He transferred to Southern Division, Investigative Services Unit as Sgt. in 1976 working auto theft and other assignments.  He left in May 1993 to start OCATT with Lt. Rick Criner.  OCATT became operational in June 1993.

He will be missed by all who knew and worked with him. 

Funeral arrangements are in the planning (possibly Friday or Monday).  I will email that information as soon as I have it.

Ruby Urban
Executive Secretary
Orange County District Attorney 
---------------------------

Below are some of the many e-mails that came to me...Gary

-----Original Message-----
Subject: Re: Robert Fritz Grimsley
    Date: Wed, 15 Sep 2004 07:25
   From: Tim Lewis
 
Gary,

Deeply saddened by this news. Not only has our profession lost a great person, all of society has lost a great human being. It goes without saying, I will be attending the funeral services.

Tim Lewis

-----Original Message-----
Subject: Re: Robert Fritz Grimsley
    Date: Wed, 15 Sep 2004 09:03
   From: Art DeLuca

Gary, it is with profound regret that I received your notification of the passing of my sergeant and friend "the fritzer"  Thank you for the excellent email.  It is our intention to come to Calif for the funeral to pay my respects to the "gunfighter" who influenced part of my 30 years in a most positive manner.  God bless and goodby from us to the Fritzer and to all his OCATT gunfighters past and present.   See ya,   Arthur OCATT 19

-----Original Message-----
Subject: Re: Robert Fritz Grimsley
    Date: Wed, 15 Sep 2004 10:21
   From: Keith Jackson

Gary;  Thanks for the final sad word on Fritz.

I first met Fritz in about 1979.  He was the OIC at CHP Central.  I was driected to his office when I took and interest in learning about VIN switched cars.  I met all of the crew, including "Big" John Maddox, Fritz, and may other talented investigators.  

A short time leter I attended my first meeting of WSATI.  Of course I met Bill Lovold, "Motorcycle" Bobby, Levon Mattson, Bobby Graybill, and others from BADCATS.  Yet the treatment and respect provided to me by Fritz was remarkable.  He introduced me to the players.  Joan Pitz, Billy Osborn, to name a few.  This welcome mat led to a loan to BADCATS in about 1980.  For a few months I worked among talent.  Not too bad for a P-II patrol cop.

Most of you know the rest, my promotion to detective, working the Auto Table at Southwest Detectives, and a promotion into BAD TRAP at the inception of taskforces.  Later into BADCATS and my inntroduction into boats with Gil "Bubba" Hetrick.

But one individual that I will never forget is Fritz.  Surrounded by talent, and some knew it, here is the OIC of CHP Central Auto theft introducting me (at about 28 years old) and taking me under his wing.  I spent hours and many telephone calls with John Maddox and his partner discussing So LA auto thieves.  Both real class acts.

Fritz is not only a legend, but had a sense of detecting the interest young officers have, and accepting and promoting that desire to learn the difficult challenges that face investigators in auto theft investigations.

Keith Jackson

(You have my permission to resend this note about Fritz. KJ)

-----Original Message-----
Subject: Re: Robert "Fritz" Grimsley
    Date: Wed, 15 Sep 2004 20:18
   From: Diana Rummel

Dear Gary:
 
Thank you for your call about Fritz, although I wasn't sure of the date.  We just got home from our trip to Norway about an hour ago, so after hearing your voice I checked email and found this sad announcement.  Having known Fritz for several years I think you captured him perfectly.  I'll rearrange some things to be there, but call when you get a chance before then.  
 
I know he will never be forgotten, for all of the right reasons.  
 
Thanks - Diana

-----Original Message-----
Subject: Re: Fritz info
    Date: Mon, 20 Sep 2004 18:09
   From: Greg Hutchinson

Wow...I got a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye when I read Alan's note.  Fritz was a special person that I always had the utmost respect and admiration for.  May we all be so lucky to succeed in life and leave behind a countless amount of close friends.

Greg

-----Original Message-----
Subject: Re: Fritz info
    Date: Wed, 22 Sep 2004 05:53
   From: Jim Ward

Thanks Gary,
For sharing those thoughts of Mr. Anami.  I'm sure Fritz is up there laughing and appreciating everyones thoughts.  Although I never worked for Fritz, I did work in the Santa Ana CHP office for sixteen years, and along with Rick Criner as my Lt. and later he was the OCATT Commander, I met Fritz on a few occassions and he was the type of guy you would love working with and for!  God Bless!
J.P.

-----Original Message-----
Subject: Fritz funeral
    Date: Thu, 23 Sep 2004 06:34
   From: Ira Beaty

Gary, please give all my best regards, and sorry that I could not attend due to a death in my family. Today is that funeral as well.  Fritz will certainly be missed by all.  See you next week in SD.  Ira 


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