David Ernest Gransbury (1945 - 2015)

  • "My sympathy to the Gransbury family. Soon God's will, "will..."
    - JT
  • "To the family and friends, please accept our condolences...."
  • "Losing a loved one is hard at whatever age it may occur...."
  • "Our sincere condolences to Dannelle, Carol Holder and the..."
    - Bill & Candy Seltenreich
  • "Was sad to see the passing of Dave. He was a friend from..."
    - AnnaMaria Ennis

Longtime Alaskan David Ernest Gransbury, passed away on November 7, 2015, from an abdominal aortic aneurysm four days shy of his 70th birthday. As per his request there will not be a funeral of any sort, but in keeping with his wishes a celebration of life on Friday, September 16 at 6:00 pm at O'Malley's on the Green. As an avid sports fan, especially of the New York Yankees, Seattle Seahawks, Oklahoma Sooners and NASCAR, we ask, in his honor, to please wear your favorite team's attire.
David was born November 11, 1945 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, to Ernie and Pearl Gransbury. Along with his older brother, Gaylen, the family moved to San Bernardino, CA shortly after, where he developed joyous, clear memories of early childhood in sun soaked California. At the age of twelve and reluctant to leave his friends and paper route, there was an adventure waiting when the family headed to the Aleutian Islands with the original idea of a shared business in raising pigs. They instead settled on the island of Sanak arriving by the mail boat Expansion, where his parents were teachers to the small community. He spent the winters of 1957 to 1959 on Sanak, with summers spent in Fairbanks where he honed his skills as short stop for the Fairbanks Little League Yankees, thus honestly being able to boast of having played for the Yankee Organization. He thoroughly loved the two winters of his life on Sanak and could tell many detailed stories of hunting, fishing, boating, skating and living the dream life of a boy who loved to be outside. He was fortunately able to almost visit Sanak again last September while on the ferry to Dutch Harbor. Coming out of False Pass in the afternoon on a remarkably clear day, he got close enough to see the now unpopulated island quite clearly, reviving many wonderful memories.
In 1960, the family moved to Anchorage where he attended Anchorage High School and graduated from the newly built East High School in 1963 proudly wearing #39 as an end position for the football team. It was as a teenager he knew he had to learn how to fly and with some inspiration and help from Red Dodge at Safeway Airways, obtained his fixed wing license. Working as a bag boy at what is now the Red Apple in Mountain View didn't afford much for flying lessons, and David was always grateful to Red for allowing him to log hours on credit rather than pay up front every time.
Upon graduation from high school David attended Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Illinois, for one year. He returned to Anchorage in 1964, when he transferred to Alaska Methodist University (now APU) where he graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Economics.
David met Jeanne Larey while working for the city in data processing. They married in1968 and spent time in Dillingham where David worked for the school district and was happily able to log more flying hours, as well as refereeing for the local high school basketball team. They returned to Anchorage, and in 1969 their daughter, Dannelle, was born.
In Anchorage he worked for the school district as a teacher, counselor, and state liaison officer which included helping to find housing for children coming in from rural Alaska communities for school. The Boarding Home Program also prompted the formation of the Native Youth Olympics in 1971. David and fellow coworkers knew these sports were important to kids and put into motion ideas that were brought to them by kids in the program. Being hundreds of miles away from home and culture, the games helped with their enthusiasm level. It took off fast with teams coming in from all over the State and continues to be going strong over 45 years later.
Flying took a bit of a back seat as David continued his love of driving anything with a motor in it. Many weekends were spent in his beloved Porsche ice racing on Sand Lake or sailing out of Seward. He taught sailing courses out of APU and along with dear friends was one of the founding members of the William H. Seward Yacht Club and nominated their second Commodore in 1977.
David's life on the Aleutian Chain and the boarding home students he and Jeanne housed gave him a closer look at some "wonderful tools" being used. The entrepreneur in him said "I can make that" and so began the journey of The ULU Factory in 1973. The business was originally formed in their small, one car garage on the East side of Anchorage. Dressed in his best denim Levis, corduroy sport coat and briefcase, he hit the pavement to market his product to downtown gift shops. His first sales call said they would take one. "One dozen?" the eager young man asked. "No just one." Not to be discouraged he charged on. And on he did, moving operations to a duplex on Debarr Road and eventually to a large warehouse in the Railroad district, designing and building most of the manufacturing equipment still used today.
The love of flying never left him and he was proud to be a licensed fixed wing pilot again in 1985 after moving to Campbell Lake. This love of flying was only enhanced when he again crossed paths with Red Dodge. Red took him on a fishing trip in his helicopter. "Wait. I wanna do this too, where do I sign up?" David always stated getting his helicopter license was one of his most satisfying accomplishments, and produced a lot of great trips and memories across the inlet for anyone who was invited. He did "complain" that he had to work on Father's Day as his daughter would pack a lunch for a day trip with Dad.
David and Jeanne divorced in 2001 and he became sole proprietor of The ULU Factory. With the increased competition from overseas he thought it was imperative to really get The ULU Factory name and Made in Alaska to the consumer. With this, his new building broke ground at its current location in 2003, with production fully visible to visitors while shopping in a quaint little gift shop. His favorite later role was manning the snack shack on the porch where he served all things Alaskan: reindeer hot dogs, Alaska ice cream and Moose's Tooth root beer floats, all the while listening to the stories of travelers and sharing his own. If snack sales were slow, he could be seen with his head in a crossword puzzle. These were the best days, other than being at the cabin on Seymour Lake or cruising Southeast on his beautiful Seascape.
Other highlights were diving the Great Barrier Reef on his 50th birthday, playing Augusta National Golf Club–twice- and fishing at the base of Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica on his 60th.
David met Carol Holder in the spring of 2003, who became a partner and companion for what turned out to be the final years of his life, enjoying every bit of travel and adventure they could in those years. Carol says "David loved life and loved to live, with his childhood curiosity and inventiveness remaining with him throughout his life. He is enormously missed."
David is survived by Carol Holder of Anchorage, daughter Dannelle Lynch and her husband Mark of Anchorage, brothers Gaylen Gransbury and Robert Gransbury, both of Anchorage, sisters Julia Mae Leeper of Glennallen, CJ Gransbury of Gakona and Janice Gransbury of Anchorage, many nieces and nephews, his granddogs Cally & Hogan and his ex-wife Jeanne Gransbury of Arizona.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to The Anchorage Gospel and Rescue Mission on his behalf. This is an organization David's father helped to found and one he and his daughter supported for many years dropping off truck loads of food anonymously during the Holidays for many years.
Miss you dad! Fish on and GO HAWKS!
Published in Anchorage Daily News from Aug. 21 to Sept. 11, 2016