Retired Sheriff, H. M. "Mack" Grimmett, age 90, received his final call when his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, asked him to come home. Mack died peacefully at his home on Sunday, February 27, 2022 surrounded by his loving wife, Lynette Wright Grimmett, and his children. He was born in Skene, Mississippi to Joe and Blanche Grimmett on August 27, 1931.
Mack was one of eight brothers and sisters, all growing up and working their father's 40 acre farm in Skene. In July of 1950 he was in the fields chopping cotton with his brothers and sisters when a friend came by and said he was headed to go join the Army. Mack yelled at him, "Hold up, I'm going with you." Mack took that hoe and threw it as far as he could throw it and told his siblings he was leaving to join the Army with his friend. His older brother yelled at him, "You better come back here and get this hoe because Daddy is going to tear your back-end up."
He was first stationed at Fort Knox, Kentucky and then on to Fort Bragg, North Carolina for Basic Training with the 82nd Airborne Division where he received his training as a paratrooper. Mack has often said "the first plane I ever rode in my entire life, I jumped out of it." His ride continued when he joined the 325 Airborne Infantry Regiment. From there he went to Fort Benning, Georgia for light and heavy weapons school where he learned to disassemble and assemble all the weapons that the U. S. Military had at the time.
In 1951, Mack received orders to be shipped to the combat zone in Korea where he first experienced the fear of military warfare. In Korea he was a Senior Parachutist with the 187th Regimented Combat Team and received the Combat Infantry Badge, the Good Conduct Medal and Korean Service Medal with two bronze service stars. From Korea he headed to Japan where he received more training before heading back to the United States where he served as 1st Sergeant and Field 1st Sergeant at Fort Dix in New Jersey.
In 1957, Mack was selected by the Department of the Army to go to Camp Desert Rock, Nevada to participate and witness an atomic bomb explosion. He and other G.I.'s were two miles from the point of detonation where he witnessed something he never thought an "old country boy from Skene" would ever experience and a part of history he was proud to have participated. As he explained it, "I was more or less a guinea pig. I was able to see my first atomic bomb explosion." From there, Mack went to Hawaii and was stationed at Schofield Barracks serving with the 25th Infantry Division for 39 months. During his 14 year military career, Mack earned and received numerous medals including the National Defense Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, Expert Badge with Bayonet Bar, Carbine Bar and Rifle Bar and the Parachutist Badge.
In 1964 Mack received an honorable discharge from the Army and has repeatedly said, "It gave me more than it took away." He felt every person involved in the military should be honored and respected, during and after their service to this country.
Upon his return from the Army to Bolivar County, he was engaged in various businesses and occupations before joining the Bolivar County Sheriff's Department under then Sheriff L. B. Williams as a road deputy and later as a Criminal Investigator. In 1979, Mack ran for Sheriff, was elected and took office in January, 1980, where he proudly served the citizens of Bolivar County for 32 years. Mack always maintained an "Open Door" policy at his office. He insisted on fairness and impartiality, and to demonstrate conduct apart from that was never tolerated. He believed in service to all the people, no matter race or religion. During his tenure, he brought about many positive changes to law enforcement throughout the County. He was appointed to serve on various committees under Governor William Winter. Governor Kirk Fordice appointed Mack to serve on the committee to study the overcrowding conditions of county jails in the State of Mississippi which helped bring about the Regional Jail Concept that the State of Mississippi operates under. He was appointed by U. S. Attorney Jim Greenlee along with two other Sheriff's to serve as a member of the Anti-Terrorism Task Force after the events of 9/11. Mack loved to share stories about his career as Sheriff of Bolivar County, some are fond ones and some are terrifying. Somewhere in the 1980's, he almost lost his life when he was assaulted by two inmates at the old county farm. Mack expounds, "Their plans were to kill me. They broke my arm and tried to push a shank through my neck. A security guard, Jimmy Webb, and another inmate helped get them off of me. It was one of those moments where they say your whole life flashes in front of your eyes. I've been cut, had my arm broke, hit on and cussed at, but I'm always thankful for the opportunity the people have given me to serve."
Through Mack's leadership and determination as well as the support and efforts from the Board of Supervisors and the citizens of Bolivar County, the Bolivar County Regional Correctional Facility was conceived, implemented and subsequently constructed in 1999. In December, 2013, a housing unit was named in his honor, the H. M. "Mack" Grimmett Housing Unit. Mack retired as Sheriff of Bolivar County in December, 2011.
Mack is a member of the First Baptist Church in Cleveland, is a Master Mason, is a Shriner and a member of the Wahabi Temple in Jackson. He is a past member of the Cleveland Exchange Club, past member of the VFW of Cleveland, past member of the National Sheriff's Association and past member and President of the Mississippi Sheriff's Association.
Retirement was way too slow for Mack and within a short period of time, Ray Funeral Home came calling looking for all the qualities Mack possessed. He knew everyone in Bolivar County and everyone knew him. He was a great communicator, a great sympathizer, always had a story to tell, was well-known as a dapper dresser and as an added bonus, was aesthetically pleasing to look at. Mack treasured the time spent working at Ray Funeral Home where once again he was able to serve and offer support and assistance to the citizens of Bolivar County, a mission he took great pride in doing. Sadly, the decline of his health shortened the time he spent with the Rays.
Mack is preceded in death by his parents, his brothers, Charles Grimmett and Bud Grimmett, and his sisters, Mary Grimmett Gasparini, Joanne Grimmett Allegrezza and Margaret Pearl Grimmett Sandroni Szot.
He is survived by his loving wife of 13 years, Lynette Wright Grimmett, his sons, Scott Grimmett and H. M. Grimmett, Jr. (Tina), his daughters, Lori Grimmett Facciolini and Kelly Grimmett Smith (William), and step-daughters, Brandy Johnson and Beth Bell; grandchildren, Jolie Facciolini Gischer, Hannah Grimmett, Sarah Grimmett, Jordan Smith, Laine Smith, Mary Hays Bell, Rossie Bell, Shelby Bramlett, Tyler Bramlett and Alexis Green; along with a host of nieces and nephews.
The family would like to extend a special thank you to Dr. Steven Clark and Dr. Charlie Brock for the care and support they gave not only to Mack, but his family as well during this difficult time; also to the nurses and caregivers at Bolivar Medical Center, the Swingbed Rehabilitation Unit of North Sunflower Medical Center, and to the various sitters from Magnolia Home Care and Sunflower Home Health and Hospice.
There is one caregiver/sitter who deserves special recognition for the care and devotion she gave continuously to Mack. Paige Gordon became Mack's constant companion and no amount of praise will be enough to express the appreciation she so fittingly deserves.
Margie Sappington, the Hospice nurse for Mack, is the Angel who gently took his hand in hers and with compassion and mercy calmed his fears and gently guided him toward his heavenly journey.
Tara Herrin has always been Mack's Guardian Angel, but during his declining years, she has been like a daughter to him. To try and list all the tasks, errands and services she has performed just in the last year would be too many to mention for fear of omitting some we might forget. She has been a constant presence for not only him, but to Lynette and Scott as well. It is with great appreciation and praise we recognize and thank Tara for all she has done and continues to do for us.
Ray Funeral Home in Cleveland has been entrusted with arrangements for Mack's service. Visitation will be Wednesday, March 2, 2022 at First Baptist Church in Cleveland, MS from 12:00 Noon to 2:00 PM. Celebration of Life Service will immediately follow at 2:00 PM.