Former department head

Jeremy Taff

Eugene Grim, former chair of the University physiology department, died Thursday from Parkinson’s disease in Abbott Northwestern Hospital. For more than 40 years, Grim taught and studied at the University until he retired in 1986.
Grim, 76, is survived by his wife Thelma, son Roger and grandson Matthew of Eden Prairie, and sister Roberta Bardenhagen of Coffeyville, Kan.
“He was a great man, and I have wonderful memories,” Thelma Grim said. “We would’ve been married 52 years in October.”
He met Thelma in April 1946 as a physiological chemistry graduate student at the University. From that time on they traveled, hiked and shared their life together.
“He always had time for his students — well everyone,” Thelma said. “If he was busy, he just squeezed them in somehow.”
The couple often went camping out west and frequently traveled across the state and all over the nation. In his free time, Grim enjoyed reading history and playing golf at the University’s Les Bolstad Golf Course.
“He was a persistent, considerate, logical, careful, well-mannered kind of person,” retired physiology professor Mead Cavert said. “He was a well-respected man.”
After graduating from high school and junior college in Coffeyville, Kan., Grim earned a bachelor’s degree from Kansas State University. Afterward, Grim moved to Minnesota where he received his graduate degree in physiological chemistry from the University in 1950. He began working as a faculty member one year later and has been at or around the University ever since.
“He was very dignified and took care of other people,” Roberta Bardenhagen, said of her brother. “He took care of us. I’m going to miss him.”
Grim and his siblings grew up in Kansas during the Great Depression, and he worked his way through school as an aeronautical engineer.
In the mid-1980s, Parkinson’s disease caused tremors in his body and eventually hindered Grim’s ability to walk and confined him to a wheelchair.
“Some people can operate for years, even decades with it,” Thelma said of the disease. “Unfortunately, his was a little more rapid.”
A memorial service is planned for this fall.