Heaven gained one hell of a guy on June 18th. After a long battle following a brainstem stroke in late December and other health challenges, Gary Duane Gruenewald, 66, passed away peacefully with his loving wife, DeeAnn, by his side. He was happy to be home in his final days and was thankful for all the love and support that his family and friends showered on him in this last year. Even in his most challenging times seeing those he loved and friends new and old brought a smile to his face.
Although we all would have liked it to last a little longer, Gary lived a life that was rich with the love of family and friends and the joy of times spent with them. He is survived by his daughters, Tara (spouse Elmo) and Jennifer, and son, Christopher (spouse Jennifer), and eight grandchildren: Roberta (spouse Matt), Rebekah (spouse Joshua), Rachel, Ashley, Maya, Sadie, Boone and Scout. He will also be missed by his siblings Dan (spouse Harriet), Lori (spouse Peter), Randy (spouse Reny), and Donna, and those by marriage, Ronna, Ralph, Terry, Jim, Gloria, and Richard, and many, many other friends and family. He was preceded in death by his mother, Enid, and father, DeLor.
Gary was born in Mitchell, South Dakota and came to California when he was 11. He spent all his years in the Golden State in Salinas Valley. He had a long career as a butcher and manager of the meat department at multiple grocery chains. He formed many lasting friendships through his work and delighted many long-time customers with his custom cuts and bright smile. He had a way of making everyone feel special.
Gary was a bit of a rascal and loved a good time, especially BBQs with family and friends. He particularly enjoyed the outdoors, including camping and Sunday drives. To know Gary was to know his good-natured spirit and kind heart. He gave expecting nothing in return. Although he was steadfast in his opinions and beliefs, he somehow managed to find common ground with everyone. There was an authenticity to his love and friendship that was truly unique.
Gary loved the Lord very much. He read the Bible every day and made his best effort to live it out in his life. The expression “the joy of the Lord in your heart” was evident in the way he lived and in his relationships with others. Even when sick, people would always comment on how joyful he was in the worst of situations.
We are so thankful to have had him in our lives. We will miss him terribly but we are comforted in knowing that all the best of him lives on in each of us.
We welcome everyone to come share in the celebration of Gary’s life on Sunday, June 23rd at 1PM. The Celebration of Life will be held at Grace Community Church, 750 Paradise Road, Prunedale, CA.