Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Richard 'Dick' Grenfell

IRONWOOD, Mich. - Richard "Dick" Grenfell, of Ironwood, took his last breath on earth and his first breath in heaven with family by his side on a May morning.

Dick was a lifelong resident of the area and was well liked in the community. As a child, he was introduced to the art of business at the local bakery-exchanging his sweeping skills for fresh donuts! He married the girl next door and the love of his life, Georgene. The wedding was at St. Ambrose Church, now known as Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church.

Once he became the father of three children, he really had his hands full! He tried to subdue their energy with trips to climb the fire tower, picnics and swimming at Crystal Lake, and weekends at his best friends' lake cottage. In the winters, building snow forts and sledding were typical activities.

He worked for Point Motors as a parts manager for 20 years. At nights, he saved money by remodeling every room in the house several times. He demonstrated high standards for his yard with manicured lawn edges and snowbanks with right angles! He was employed until retirement at Giovanoni Hardware in Hurley. He was always a hard worker and even in his 80's it was a challenge to get him to give up the lawn mower and the snowblower.

Dick's faith was fundamental to his life. Educated at St. Ambrose Schools, he was an altar boy and he was able to recite the Lord's Prayer in flawless Latin throughout his life. He was one of the first to participate in the Father/Son altar servers program. As an altar server, he held the record as one of the oldest servers with the longest history of service. In his retirement years, he volunteered to train altar servers for Our Lady of Peace. He made himself available as a server for funerals and assisted at LaRosa Suppers. His dedication to the church spanned his lifetime. He and Georgene renewed their wedding vows for their 25th, 50th and 70th anniversaries. A personal highlight was to have their anniversary blessed by the Bishop at a special mass in Marquette! This celebration honored them for being the longest married couple in attendance.

Dick was known by all for his witty sense of humor and story telling ability. His humor seemed to be in his DNA and he loved word play and practical jokes. He could sing several songs with "alternative" lyrics. He could easily embellish a five minute story into ten minutes especially if the listener laughed at his enthusiastic and perhaps exaggerated details. It was like being with a stand up comedian. His favorite stories were requested many times over the years and each time was even funnier as you learned which parts could get him revved up and make his story go on and on even longer!

What brought him the greatest joy in life was watching his family grow up through four generations. Extended families and friends were welcomed in and he made everyone feel special! Whether you were a relative, friend or neighbor he would pick up the conversation from the last one. You could count on him to be there whether you were moving or if times were tough. On your birthday, you could accurately predict a phone call with music and song followed by a card in the mail addressed in his most unique handwriting.

He delighted in all of our endeavors whether it was getting a new appliance, a car, or a job. He was active in listening to our plans and was not shy to offer sage advice. Babies amused him and the family relished in watching his never-ending patience especially as he taught them to say his name or climb the stairs! He was always early for ball games to record statistics and cheer loudly for his grandchildren and great grandchildren. He preferred to collect memories more than objects and now those memories will live on in all of us. We were blessed to have had him actively and lovingly share in our lives.

Dick had a good life. He enjoyed how he lived. He enjoyed what he did. He appreciated his experiences. In his last few months of life, he had few complaints and showed everyone a model of strength, acceptance and peace.

He was preceded in death by his brother, John.

Left to cherish his memories the deepest are his wife, Georgene; their children, Debra (Mark), Ken, and Michele (Dan); four grandchildren, Christopher (Rachel), Brian (Trisha), Nathan (Emily) and Laura; and eight great-grandchildren, McKenzie (Michael), Aiden, Landon, Mason, Laine, Emmett, Althea and Wesley.

The family of Richard Grenfell wants to thank all of the Aspirus Hospital team for their care, compassion and skills. Our gratitude can not adequately be put into words but is forever cherished in our hearts!

A celebration of Richard's life will be held on May 25 at Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church in Ironwood. There will be a visitation in the St. Joseph Room at Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church at 10:30 a.m. followed by a mass at 11:30 a.m. A private interment will be held in the future.