The first time I met Paul Grimes, was during my stint at the former WARD-AM in Pittston (Duryea), PA. Paul came on board as a sales rep after he sold a station that he co-owned in Berwick. When I left WARD it would be years later when our paths would cross again.
In 2001 I started hosting a pet-care talk show on WILK-AM/FM. The co-host I had for the first year, didn’t come back for the second and I began looking for someone. My phone rang one day and it was Paul. I didn’t think twice about adding him to “The Pet Guy Show” and we spend lots of Saturday afternoons entertaining legions of pet owners.
When I decided not to renew my advertising contract with WILK, it was Paul who convinced me not to let the show disappear, and he arranged for us to turn it into an educational experience for pet owners and broadcasting students by moving it to Luzerne College‘s radio station WSFX. It was around this time when Paul got some bad news about his health that he shared with our listeners each week.
Paul had been diagnosed with a growth on his brain that caused discomfort and memory lapses. But that didn’t deter him. His spirit was unchanged and his determination to continue doing the show with me was stronger than ever. When he went in for surgery, he took a few weeks off, then surprised me one day when his wife Diane brought him to the station during the middle of the show. As soon as he stepped behind the mic, his eyes lit up, the smile came back to his face, and Paul was back in the saddle. But he was never the same.
The surgery and the treatment that accompanied it seemed to take its toll. His voice wasn’t the booming voice of Paul Grimes that we first heard when he was known as the “Fat Cat of Record Land”. He could no longer drive, but he managed to make his way to the studio every Saturday to do the show. But his love for radio and entertaining people is what kept him going.
I stayed at WSFX for a year before I called it quits. Determined to carry on, Paul renamed the program we did together, “The Pet Show“, and his wife Diane joined him each weekend. As his health deteriorated, the show went off the air.
When I checked my email this morning, I received notes from many of our listeners who alerted me to Paul’s passing. Being in Florida, I instantly logged on to the Times Leader‘s website to read the obituary. Like many, I was shocked and saddened.
I immediately began to think about those pre-show lunches at Arby’s every Saturday or the remotes from the Pet Expo each year.
I remember doing a live read for a cosmetic studio when Paul interrupted me and blurted out “You know, I’ve seen some real dogs walk into that place and when they come out they’re hot!”
I remember a contest where the question was “Name Scott’s three dogs.” Someone called in and said, “Baby, Donald and Penis.” We both laughed for a half hour, gave the person the prize and from that day forward, Paul always referred to Peanut by a different name.
I remember when Diane gave Paul a surprise birthday party when he turned 50 and he was surrounded by friends and family.
I remember a real pro. A guy who loved radio and who despite his health issues, still managed to crack a joke and make people laugh.
Rest in peace Fat Cat, you will be missed.