Grebey Jr, Clarence R.
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Ray Grebey, who as director of player relations for Major League Baseball spearheaded labor negotiations for team owners during the tumultuous early period of free agent compensation, died on August 28 in Stamford, Conn. He was 85.
The cause was complications from stomach cancer, his son Clarence R. Grebey III, said.
Clarence Raymond Grebey Jr. was born in Chicago on March 10, 1928. He received degrees in chemistry and psychology from Kenyon College and an MBA from the University of Chicago. He served in Korea with the U.S. Army during the Korean Conflict, initially as a clerk in a MASH unit and later as an infantryman.
He spent his youth on the beaches of Lake Michigan and in the bleachers of Wrigley Field where his life-long (and often painful) passion for the Chicago Cubs was established. As a high school student he and a classmate had a summer job assembling rods for the Manhattan Project. Although at the time they were not told the true nature of their work, they were awarded an Army "E" production pennant after World War II for their service in the defense effort.
Mr. Grebey had a long career in industrial relations and labor negotiations. He began working in the field at the Inland Steel Corporation in Chicago. After graduate school, he managed industrial relations for the Hotpoint Appliance Company in Chicago, then a division of General Electric. In the late 1960s, he was promoted and transferred to the GE global headquarters in New York City and later Fairfield, Conn.
At GE, he led international labor relations for the company until departing in 1978 to join Major League Baseball. He was the baseball owners' labor chief at a time when the influence of the players' union ascended in the new era of free agency. He had an often acrimonious relationship with Marvin Miller, the powerful leader of the players' union. Later in life, however, the two retired negotiators reconciled their professional differences and Mr. Grebey went as far as to publicly endorse Mr. Miller as a candidate for induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY.
He left baseball in 1982 to join Pan American Airlines as the head of international labor relations and human resources. In 1989, he left Pan Am to join the founding executive team of the Trump Shuttle which had acquired the landing rights of Eastern Airlines to operate hourly flights between Boston, New York, and Washington. The Trump Shuttle was partially acquired by the US Air Group in 1992, where Mr. Grebey continued to work until it was fully sold to US Air in 1997.
Mr. Grebey later served as the chief labor negotiator for the City of Stamford and was appointed as a member of the Connecticut State Board of Labor Relations.
Mr. Grebey lived in Stamford. He was preceded in death by his parents, Inez Fuller Grebey and C.R. Grebey, Sr. of Chicago. In addition to his son, he is survived by his wife of 61 years Marilyn Isett Grebey, his daughters Nancy Grebey and Chris Grebey, his daughter-in-law Katharine Urbank, and grandchildren James Grebey and Tess Grebey.
A memorial wake will be held at the Gallagher Funeral Home, 2900 Summer Street in Stamford on Tuesday, September 3, from 4-7pm. A memorial mass will be held at St. Timothy's Church, 1034 North Street in Greenwich, on Wednesday September 4, 2013 at 10:00am. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to Greenwich Home Hospice Care at Greenwich Hospital 5 Perry Ridge Road, Greenwich CT.
Published in StamfordAdvocate from Aug. 30 to Sept. 1, 2013