Richard "Dick" Greuel died Dec. 3, 2013, in Anoka, Minn., after a lengthy illness. He was born April 18, 1928, in New Holstein, Wisc. After high school, he joined the U.S. Army and was stationed in 1946 at Ladd Field (now Fort Wainwright) in Fairbanks.
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While still in the Army, he became radio broadcaster "Goose-Grease Greuel," hired by Cap Lathrop at KFAR and worked his way to program director of Lathrop's six-station Alaska Midnight Sun Broadcasting network.
After receiving an honorable discharge from the U.S. Army, Greuel settled in Fairbanks and became involved in politics. He served on the Fairbanks City Council from 1951 to '57.
He was elected to the Alaska Territorial House of Representatives in 1953, 1955 and 1957. In 1953, he was appointed to the first Legislative Council which initiated the groundwork for Alaska statehood. He was chairman of the council from 1955 to '57.
In 1955 he was elected House Majority Leader. He was chairman of the Conference Committee that introduced the bill calling for the Constitutional Convention. In 1957, Greuel was elected Speaker of the House.
Greuel served in the Omega/Alpha Session of the Alaska Legislature, so called because it covered the last year of the Alaska Territorial Legislature and the first year of the Alaska State Legislature. He served as the Chairman of both the House Rules and of the Joint House-Senate Policy Committees. The two committees were responsible for reorganization of the newly formed Alaska State Government. This historic feat was accomplished in just 82 days, though they received flak for taking too long.
Greuel was a delegate to the 1960 Democratic National Convention with other Alaska history makers, Sen. Ernest Gruening, Sen. Wendell Kay and Rep. Ralph Rivers. This was the convention that nominated the future President of the United States, John F. Kennedy.
In 1961, he became the editor of Jessen's Weekly in Fairbanks, under E.F. Jessen. While there, he wrote the weekly humor/satire column "Caught in the Sluice-Box," featuring Buckwheat Charlie.
Greuel married Patricia Swaggerty, a Wien Alaska Airlines stewardess, in 1962. They raised five children. He owned and operated Greuel Real Estate in Fairbanks for more than 30 years.
Dick was involved in the founding of the Catholic Council of Fairbanks, an advisory body to pastors of Fairbanks' Roman Catholic community. He became its first president in 1970. He and Patricia were one of the founding couples of HIPOW.
When wife Patricia was involved in formation of the Fairbanks Sweet Adeline Chapter, Greuel rewrote the affiliation application to reflect Alaska's racial equality statutes, removing the "whites only" policy from their membership requirements. Subsequently, the Sweet Adeline National Board incorporated his suggestions and a more equitable national policy was ratified and established.
Greuel was elected to the Fairbanks City Council again in 1974, 23 years after his first election to the council. One of his happiest achievements was supporting establishment of bike paths and the green space by the library along Airport Way.
He is survived by wife, Patricia Greuel; sons, Dr. Michael Greuel and Dr. Peter Greuel; daughters, Paula Beal, Lisa Moore and Laura Baldwin; and many loving grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
A funeral Mass will be held at 1 p.m. Dec. 13, 2013, at the Church of St. John The Baptist, 14383 Forest Boulevard, Hugo, Minn. 55038.
Condolences may be sent to his wife, Patricia Greuel, at 1508 Franklin Lane, Anoka, Minn. 55303.
Published in Daily News-Miner on Dec. 7, 2013