Asheville and Western North Carolina lost one of the most beloved, trusted, and well-known faces in local news when Darcel Grimes retired in May after nearly 40 years at WLOS-TV.
A 1976 graduate of American University in Washington, DC, Grimes landed her first television news job as an anchor and reporter at WTVA in Tupelo, Mississippi, before arriving in Asheville in 1981. During her final show on May 8, she said that it was never her plan to stay in the mountains.
“There’s often a power stronger than ours that has a different plan for our destiny. I will be forever grateful that I surrendered to that greater power,” she said, adding that she felt “blessed to call you all my extended family.” In an interview after her farewell appearance, Grimes said everything “still feels a little surreal. I’ve done television all of my adult life.”
WLOS aired a series of interviews with former coanchors and reporters who drew a clear picture of Grimes as a consummate professional. From John Butte, the former news director who hired Grimes, to former station manager Mort Cohn to Hoyt Harris, the first coanchor to sit next to Grimes at the WLOS anchor desk, and many others, Grimes’ colleagues described a smart, kind-hearted broadcaster who was great to work with.
In terms of the history of the station, it’s hard to overstate Grimes’ contribution. Consider this: WLOS started broadcasting 65 years ago, and she has been on the air 39 of those years. Grimes said that throughout her career, she always felt the responsibility of delivering the news in a way that viewers could best understand it.
One of the things Grimes said she’ll miss most is interacting with viewers. “People here are caring, they’re smart, and they’ll see through you if you’re fake.” She summed it all up in her final on-air goodbye. “We’ve laughed together, cried together, and shared great memories,” she said. “After 39 years, I will miss this station and all of you. I hope you’ll miss me just a little bit, too.”