The Story of a Jacket
A glimpse of love and loss at YC in the '40s
Smelling faintly of mothballs, the jacket is still a vibrant York College blue. The cuffs and collar may be a little frayed, but the jacket looks much as it did nearly 70 years ago when it was worn with pride by YC basketball player (Robert) DuWayne Grimes ’43.
Grimes and his teammates had good reason to be proud. As the decal sewn on the jacket confirms, the YC panthers were the state basketball champs in the ’42-’43 season, winning 17 out of 23 games.
It was a tumultuous time in the life of young men at YC, and all over the world. Just after the victorious basketball season ended that year, Grimes joined the Army, cutting short his last semester at YC by several weeks.
He served as an administrative clerk in the 462nd Bombardment Group of the Army Air Corps in India (Asian theatre). He later was stationed on Tinian Island when the Enola Gay refueled for its mission to end the war in Japan.
Grimes returned from the conflict in 1945 and married his YC sweetheart, Frances Bullock ’42, a York native. His teammates and close friends Les Auchard and George Shaneyfelt weren’t so lucky. Both joined the Navy, serving on submarines. They were lost at sea.
After the war ended, Grimes left the service as a tech sergeant and stayed in the air force reserves, eventually retiring as a lieutenant colonel. He went to Kansas State on the G. I. bill to earn his masters in English. He taught high school English for the rest of his career.
Grimes’ daughter, Nancy Robinson, generously donated some of her parents’ things to York College, including the 1943 jacket. She said that she and her sister, Laurie, were always proud of their father’s military service. “Dad was very humble and always wanted us to remember his friends from the 1943 basketball team, Les Auchard and George Shaneyfelt. They were very close…. they were our honorary uncles and Dad never forgot them.”
DuWayne (who would later be known as “Bob”) and Frances were married 64 years. “They had a wonderful life together and loved each other dearly from the time they met [at YC] in 1940 until she passed in 2009,” said Nancy, who noted that her mother was a talented water colorist later in life. “Their home was filled with beautiful paintings,” she says.
“They were a sweet couple who charmed all they met,” continued Nancy. “Dad took care of her through Alzheimer’s, keeping her at home until she passed. At the end he sat for days, weeks, months just holding her hand all day long. It was amazing to watch.”