Remembering Tina Grimm

GRIMM, Tina Lynn
Photo Courtesy of California Historical Society, MSP 3800

I met Tina Grimm in fourth grade at Laurel Dell School in San Rafael, California. A shy and quiet Indian/Irish girl, Tina was an only child. Her parents were Ron and Sue Grimm. Sue was Indian, and very soft spoken and quiet. Ron was an outgoing warm man.

As young girls, Tina and I would walk home from school together since we lived in the same neighborhood. She and I would loved go to the neighborhood park and hang out with other kids. We loved going window shopping downtown on Fourth Street.

Tina’s dad Ron worked at nights at the local skating rink where Tina and I would go skating on Saturday nights. We would often spend the nights at each other’s houses. One night Tina and I spent the night in her backyard in sleeping bags. We stayed up all night watching the stars and talking. That was when we became very close and best friends.

The first time I went to Tina’s house, I noticed a lot of photos of this man on the walls. I asked Tina, “Who is this man?” She told me it was her uncle. She later told me it was Jim Jones, the pastor of the church her mom goes to. Tina’s mother went to church nightly, usually without Tina and her father.

Tina and her father had a very close bond. He was always there when she needed him. They had a very special love for each other. He also was there to take her anywhere she needed to go.

One day in our senior year of high school, Tina stopped going to school. I called her and she told me she was going on a trip with her mother and father. I asked, “Where are you going?” She said, “Somewhere in Los Angeles.” I asked her for an address so I could write her. She told me that where she was going in Los Angeles, she couldn’t receive mail. She then told me she would call me or write me once she was settled. I thought to myself, that was odd. Tina and I would tell each other everything!

She then had a going away party in her honor. That party was the last time I saw her. I later found out she was with Jim Jones and left the country. I wrote her a few letters but never heard back from her.

Shortly after, their house and cars were sold. They even gave away their cat. I thought to myself, why would they do all of this if she was coming back?

It was so sad to see my best friend leave and never come back. After the deaths in Jonestown, people in our city were shocked. I was extremely saddened and am still sad today.

If Tina were alive today, she would have celebrated her 30th class reunion at San Rafael High School this past September, 2008.

Tina and I shared a lot of laughter and tears together. She has left a lasting friendship in my heart. I will never forget my dear friend Tina.

Tina and her father Ron are now resting together peacefully in Middletown, California.

(Tina Marie Brown can be reached at