The longtime executive director of Hamilton County Water and Wastewater Treatment Authority has died. Cleveland Grimes passed away Tuesday evening. Grimes had served Hamilton County government for nearly 35 years.
Legislation was proposed recently that would potentially end the agency Grimes headed by 2019 if a sunset review deemed it unnecessary. In 2012, Tennessee American Water stopped including sewer in its billing. Customers were initially confused by a separate sewer bill from the WWTA. Grimes led the agency through that transition.
Many in the Chattanooga area also know Grimes for his decades of work to support children who play soccer. He was instrumental in the creation of North River Soccer Association and its complex on Access Road. Grimes was the executive vice president of the Tennessee State Soccer Association, which is the governing body of all registered select soccer players in the state.
Mike Moon, WWTA Chairman released this statement from the company,
"On behalf of the employees and board of directors of the WWTA, I am shocked and saddened to announce the sudden passing of Cleveland T. Grimes. Cleveland was the Waste Water Treatment Authority’s Executive Director, and more importantly, he was a friend to the board and to the entire 28 member staff of the WWTA who he considered his family.
We will miss Cleveland in so many ways, most significantly, his laugh that echoed throughout the hallways of our offices assuring everyone no matter what the crisis of the day was, everything was going to be all right. This is such a professional and personal loss. Cleveland was an inspiring leader, who was always positive, always optimistic, unfailingly polite and always committed to doing the right thing in a very, difficult job. He was truly the consummate professional.
Cleveland’s knowledge of the WWTA was encyclopedic, dating back to the Authority’s inception in 1991. Cleveland’s institutional knowledge is irreplaceable, as is his ability to work with homeowners, businesses and politicians on state and federal levels. He was also widely respected by his peers and the regulatory community. It seems incomprehensible that Cleveland will not be here tomorrow to lead us forward helping Hamilton County’s growth and development as he has for so many years.
Cleveland’s passing is a devastating loss and we share the grief that his wife Mary Knaff Grimes and his children Ryan Grimes and Julian Cleveland Grimes are now dealing with. Cleveland and his family are in our thoughts and prayers and Cleveland will remain forever in our hearts."
John Moore, TSSSA Southeastern District Director, shared the news with area soccer associations this morning. He said Grimes is "leaving an unparalleled legacy to the game we all love. His loyalty and dedication to our community will be deeply missed."
Moore went on to say Grimes "gave so much of his life to Youth Soccer, to each of us individually, to our Clubs, District, the State Association and most importantly to our children in the advancement of the Beautiful Game."
This is a developing story and more details will be released as they become available.