Gary P. Grunau
1939 - 2019
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Gary P. Grunau

Milwaukee - Gary Peter Grunau, 80, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, September 25, 2019 enveloped in the love of his family, after a long battle with cancer. He was born April 17, 1939 in Bay View to Paul and Lenore Grunau and lived his entire life in the Milwaukee area.

Gary is survived by his wife Joanne; sons Paul (Jeanie) Grunau, Daniel Grunau, and John (Adrienne) Grunau; stepson Jeff (Kate) MacInnes and stepdaughter Laura MacInnes; grandchildren Grace, Hank, Gus, Sadie, Alex, Jon, Grant, Andrew, Wesley, Darcy, and Wilson Grunau; sister Gretchen (James) Henry; brother-in-law John Dragisic and many nieces and nephews. He is also survived by Linda Grunau and Anne Bach Grunau. He was preceded in death by sister Susan Dragisic, parents Lenore and Paul, and aunt Fern "Toonie" Perry.

Gary was larger than life. He lived each day with grace, integrity, compassion, humility, and a charisma revealed each time he entered a room and caught the eye of every occupant. His unending drive to live life to the fullest and laugh along the way inspired family and friends alike. Everything he touched he made better. He relished the opportunity to be involved in new projects and organizations, jumping in with both feet and propelling it forward, regardless of the time or effort needed. Gary got things done, period.

Gary loved many things, but most important to him, other than his family, was the city of Milwaukee. Each day, he woke up motivated to make this the greatest city on earth. The results of those efforts can be seen and enjoyed by anyone strolling through the city today. From the Milwaukee Riverwalk, through Schlitz Park, over to the Hyatt Hotel, The Milwaukee Convention Center, and down to Discovery World, you will find a little bit of Gary around almost every corner. And he will be with us all as we gather each September to enjoy the Milwaukee River Challenge, and help celebrate the city he loved so dearly. His impact extends beyond these projects and into the hearts and vision of many of the urbanists we find in our great city today.

Even beyond the buildings built and the companies led, Gary's true passion lay with the organizations he has helped create and/or direct. His generosity can be felt across the city, region and country. The students of the Milwaukee Academy of Science and Alverno College will be the first to tell you that his influence goes well beyond the bricks and mortar for which he is most recognized. Gary worked tirelessly to invigorate institutions throughout Milwaukee to nurture, cultivate, and inspire some of our greatest minds. His direct involvement in Discovery World, the Harbor District, Milwaukee Riverwalk District, Spirit of Milwaukee and the Greater Milwaukee Committee (just to name a few), has had an invaluable impact on this city, and one that will continue to reverberate for ages to come.

The exuberance he brought to projects in Milwaukee permeated everything he did in life. He traveled the world with his family and friends and was kept young by child-like wonder and unquenchable curiosity. He was an avid fisherman, ravenous reader and a pretty darn good golfer. He cherished his time in Delray Beach with his family both immediate and extended and loved a chilled glass of chardonnay or a fine burgundy. Though, perhaps not as much as good brandy Manhattan, with an olive of course.

Friends and family will gather from 3 - 6 pm on Sunday, September 29, 2019 at the Pilot House at Discovery World, 500 N. Harbor Drive, Milwaukee. Visitation will continue on Monday, September 30 from 9 - 11 am at The Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, 812 N. Jackson St., Milwaukee followed by a Memorial Mass at 11:00 am.

Special thanks to the Froedtert Cancer Center, especially Dr. Fenske and staff; caregivers at Restorative Home Care, especially the amazing Abby; and the wonderful staff at Zilber Family Hospice.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Gary P. Grunau "Good for Milwaukee" Fund at the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, 101 W. Pleasant St, Ste. 210, Milwaukee 53212. http://www.greatermilwaukeefoundation.org/donors/give-online/






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Published in Milwaukee Journal Sentinel from Sep. 26 to Sep. 29, 2019.
MEMORIAL EVENTS
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13 entries
September 30, 2019
I worked for Gary 18 years in the Fire Sprinkler Business!
I learned so much from Gary, who was always one step ahead of you mentally!
He will be missed!!
Rest in Peace..Rich Ackley
September 30, 2019
This is so beautifully written and captures Gary perfectly. He lives in through everyone's collective stories. Much love to all who loved him and to his family who shared him with all of us. Pam and Bill
Pam O
September 30, 2019
A great friend for over 50 years. The Grunau Co. was a great company to be associated with. From the
West Bend Co. to the Medical College of Wisconsin Gary always was upbeat when giving me an advice or an answer to my questions. Also an excellent golfer.
Jim Hopp
September 30, 2019
Jim Hopp
September 29, 2019
Paul, so sorry to hear the news. Thoughts and prayers to you and your family. The elder Gus Murray.
Gus Murray
September 29, 2019
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September 29, 2019
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September 28, 2019
Joanne and family. The tribute paid to him in the memorial statement captures the essence of what he represented and who he was. The city of Milwaukee, the state of Wisconsin and indeed the world we live in is a better place because of his efforts. Thank you for sharing this much beloved man with all us. My thoughts are truly with you. Barbara Velez
Barbara Velez
September 27, 2019
Gary meant the world to me.
September 27, 2019
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Julie Dahlberg
September 27, 2019
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September 26, 2019
Our thoughts and prayers are with you all. Gary touched many of lives here in Indiana Grunau Company of Indiana he will be missed. God Bless you all and comfort you thru this sorrowful time.
Paul Meunier
September 26, 2019
Much of the current renaissance that is occurring in downtown Milwaukee is the result of Gary's extraordinary vision of what the future can be, his ability to explain it to others, and then mobilize them to make it happen. The entire community is thankful for Gary's dedication to his hometown. Generations to come will benefit from his efforts. He will be missed.
Steve Marcus
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