Richard L. Gruenther obituary photo
 
In Memory of

Richard L. Gruenther

December 14, 1924 - March 18, 2015

Obituary


Richard L. Gruenther
December 14, 1924 ''' March 18, 2015

Richard Louis Gruenther was born in the Philippines on December 14, 1924. He was the second son of General Alfred M. Gruenther (USMA 1919) from Platte Center, Nebraska and Grace E. Gruenther (nee Crum) from Jefferson, Indiana. Richard and his older brother Donald A. Gruenther both continued their father's esteemed legacy of military service to their country.

Dick attended the Military Academy at West Point, class of 1946. He also earned a Master's of Science degree at Springfield College, MA (1951-52) and...

Richard L. Gruenther
December 14, 1924 ''' March 18, 2015

Richard Louis Gruenther was born in the Philippines on December 14, 1924. He was the second son of General Alfred M. Gruenther (USMA 1919) from Platte Center, Nebraska and Grace E. Gruenther (nee Crum) from Jefferson, Indiana. Richard and his older brother Donald A. Gruenther both continued their father's esteemed legacy of military service to their country.

Dick attended the Military Academy at West Point, class of 1946. He also earned a Master's of Science degree at Springfield College, MA (1951-52) and later attended the National War College (1965-66). As a West Point cadet, Dick played banjo in his own country band, "Gruenther's Grumblers." Moreover, he was an outstanding athlete and was selected to compete in Modern Pentathlon in the 1948 London Olympics, placing third with his three man team.

Dick served in Japan from 1949-1950 with the 11th Airborne, then in the 17th Infantry Regiment at Camp Schimmelpfennig. There he met Susan Mannheimer, a WWII Navy WAVE, now working for the American Red Cross Field Service in Japan. They shared tennis, sailing, and skiing -- and married in Japan on June 17, 1950.

In the Korean War, Dick served as Rifle Company Commander in combat at Inchon and again at Iwon, earning a battlefield promotion to Captain. He was seriously wounded there. Further assignments included: Instructor Physical Education at West Point (1952-55); Ranger training Fort Benning, GA (1955-56); S-3 of the 28th Infantry in Heilbrun, Germany (1957-59); Instructor at the Command and Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, KS (1959-63); Regimental Commander of the 32nd Infantry, Korea (1963-64); Department of the Army staff, Pentagon (1964-65); Joint Chiefs of Staff, Washington DC (1966-68); Infantry Brigade command in Vietnam (1968-69); Director of Military Instruction in the Dept. of Tactics at West Point (1969-73); and TRADOC Headquarters, Ft. Monroe VA (1973-75).

Dick was proud to be an infantry soldier. His decorations include two Silver Stars, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry, two combat Infantry Badges, twelve Air Medals, the Purple Heart, and four Legion of Honor awards for peacetime work.

Retiring in 1975 after 30 years of active service, Dick was Director of Development, West Point Association of Graduates for another 14 years. Later, he created Planned Giving Program for the AOG and served as it's first Director until 1989.

Dick was a loving and generous husband and father. He and Sue did an extraordinary job of raising six children, all of whom inherited their parents' love of sports, outdoor adventures, music and art. For proximity to much of their family, and to continue their active life of tennis, golf and swimming, Dick and Sue moved to St. Augustine, Florida in 1997.

Richard is survived by Susan, his devoted wife of 65 years, and his six children: Richard Gruenther, Tampa FL; Joan Swider, New Windsor NY; Pat Conway, St. Augustine FL; Paul Gruenther, Jacksonville Beach FL; Max Gruenther, New Orleans LA; and Laura Gruenther Crotty, Ojai CA -- along with 8 grandchildren, 6 great-grandchildren, and numerous nephews and nieces. Arrangements are under the care of Hardage-Giddens Beaches Chapel.