Wausau Shooting Victim Patty Grimm Was A ‘Kind Soul’

The 52-Year-Old Was Involved In Efforts To Preserve, Document Local History

Flowers at the entrance to Wausau's Pine Grove Cemetery
Flowers are displayed at the entrance to Wausau’s Pine Grove Cemetery, where 52-year-old Patty Grimm was fatally shot on Oct. 3. Rob Mentzer/WPR

Patty Grimm had a passion for local history, and for the stories that could be found in the Wausau cemetery she managed.

Grimm’s friend Kent Olson of Wausau in a brief interview said she was a “good human being, a wonderful mother, a beautiful soul (and) a good wife.”

She loved to be with friends,” Olson said. “She just loved life. She loved people. She was a kind soul.

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Grimm, who managed Pine Grove Cemetery, died Thursday in a shooting in Wausau. According to an online obituary, a visitation for Grimm will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Monday at St. Anne Parish, 700 Bridge Street in Wausau.

The alleged shooter, Henry V. West, 64, appeared in court Friday. West was a former employee of Pine Grove Cemetery. Police say he shot and wounded two others at the same time he shot and killed Grimm. Police have recommended charges of first-degree intentional homicide and two counts of attempted homicide.

Patty Grimm. Photo courtesy of Brainerd Funeral Home

Grimm’s family and friends were in mourning Monday. According to her online obituary, Grimm was born in Norfolk, Virginia and graduated from Wausau’s Newman Catholic High School. She led the Wausau Cemetery Association, was active with the Marathon County Historical Society and served as a citizen member of Wausau’s Historic Preservation Commission. Blake Opal-Wahoske, who also served on the commission, said she “was always such a ray of light at our meetings, and had such a passion for history.”

Gary Gisselman is the research librarian for the Marathon County Historical Society. He worked with Grimm in organizing the Historical Society’s cemetery tours, which told stories of local history as reflected in the lives of those buried there. The most recent of these was only weeks ago, on Sept. 22.

He said Grimm “knew the cemetery backwards and forwards,” knew its history and the history of many people there, and that she took pride in being able to connect others with those stories.

“Her great help, her enthusiasm for the history as reflected at Pine Grove was really something that I’ll really miss,” Gisselman said.

Grimm “was a champion for her family, her community and her place of employment, the Pine Grove Cemetery,” the obituary reads. “Patty walked the entire park daily, knowing it intimately and understanding the sacred ground she was immersed in. She worked tirelessly to assist grieving families, local historians and curious visitors to learn of their loved ones and the souls laid to rest within. She even took care of the wildlife that called the cemetery their home.”

Police on Monday released the identities of all three shooting victims. William Buhse, 60, also an employee of the cemetery, was in critical condition on Monday. Rosemelia Short, 70, was treated for injuries and has since been released from the hospital, police said. Short is a relative of a cemetery employee.

A post by Buhse’s daughter on the fundraising site GoFundMe said he is the father of nine children.

Police asked members of the public who have information that can assist in the investigation to contact lead Det. Jennifer Holz at 715-261-7883.

According to the obituary, Grimm is survived by her husband Tom, two daughters, as well as her parents, sisters, stepdaughters and other family members.

In 2015, the Wausau Daily Herald reported that she reached out to the family of a 12-year-old Wausau girl who died in a car crash and donated a burial plot to her family.

In 2013, Grimm spoke out about vandalism of a series of headstones at Pine Grove Cemetery.

“We’re talking about stones that are irreplaceable,” she reportedly told the Wausau Daily Herald then. “We’re just now … starting to contact families, but many of the families are long gone. It’s incredibly sad.”

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