John E. Grimmer

January 23, 2018


John Edward Grimmer, 68, died January 23 of cancer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. John was an internationally known and highly respected attorney specializing in maritime law. He successfully argued in several shipping cases of note, winning the case involving the Prestige oil spill off the coast of Spain, and devoting himself to many years working on the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska.

John Edward Grimmer was born on March 11, 1949, in Iowa City, IA, to George T. Grimmer and Imogene Loseke Grimmer. He graduated from Shaker High School in Latham, NY, and went on to graduate from Princeton University, and Columbia Law School.

John had a wide variety of interests. His talents ranged from gourmet cooking to scuba diving to computer technology, as well as making plumbing and electrical repairs at his own and his family’s residences. He loved animals, especially his dogs. He also loved the ocean and spent much time on the southern coast of Maine where family members have lived since 1977.

John was preceded in death by his wife, Ellen Haven, who died in 2015. He is survived by his son Darius Hartwell and two grandchildren, Delilah and Isaiah “Zeke” Hartwell, of Portland, OR; and his two sisters, Anne Grimmer, Washington, DC, and Mary Grimmer, Biddeford, ME.

Donations in his memory may be made to the Nature Conservancy ( or to the Hudson Highlands Land Trust (

Private Burial took place in Cold Spring Cemetery on January 26, 2018. 
Please join in a celebration and memory of the life of John E. Grimmer on Saturday January 27, 2018 at 3:30pm at St.  Mary in the Highland 1 Chestnut Street, Cold Spring New York


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