Richard Gruber "Gramps"

January 11, 1935 - August 25, 2017
Martin, MI



Tuesday, September 5, 2017
1:00 PM EDT
River of Life Church
605 W. Allegan St.
Otsego, MI 49078


At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

American Cancer Society
P.O. Box 22478
Oklahoma City, OK 73123
(800) 227-2345
Web Site


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

River Rose
(269) 692-3951

Plainwell Flowers
117 S. Main
Plainwell, MI 49080
(269) 685-8055
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


Gregarious and hard working, Richard E. “Gramps” Gruber was a dynamic man who lived life fully and loved deeply. A devoted father and grandfather Richard enjoyed nothing more than sharing time with his son and grandchildren. Richard’s infectious sense of humor, gratitude for the simple things in life, and friendly ways are a small part of the humble legacy he leaves behind. While he will be deeply missed, Gramps will long be remembered in the hearts and lives of those who knew him best.

Despite the obvious gloom of the Great Depression, 1935 gave birth to many celebrated firsts. While reeling in the heartache of Black Sunday, our nation’s 20.1% unemployment rate and the gathering war clouds as Germany passed the Nuremberg laws, Americans found much hope in Amelia Earhart’s’ first solo Pacific flight, the inventions of parking meters, fluorescent tubes for light, and the game of Monopoly, as well as the first Orange Bowl, first Pacific Airmail delivery, and the first Technicolor film; Mickey Mouse. Locally, on the muck of their Martin farm, Harold & Carra (Kree) Gruber held much hope for the future as they celebrated the birth of their son Richard on January 11th.

Growing up on the farm in Martin, the foundation of Richard’s life was firmly built on the values of family, hard work, and gratitude. Besides handling his chores around the house and farm, Richard spent considerable time fishing the Gun River and playing baseball. Fate also gifted him with a single neighbor friend, Harold LaCorse. Harold and Richard were best buddies and shared many a day’s adventures together.

One of Richard’s proudest moments during his youth was being selected to be on the 1954 Martin High School All Star Football Team during his senior year. In addition to his time on the gridiron, Richard also enjoyed the stage and shared his talents in the Junior and Senior play. Despite these fond memories, Richard long held graduating from high school as one of the two best days of his life!

While attending a school baseball game, Richard had the good fortune of meeting the woman who would become his bride, Donna. After dating for some time, the happy couple married on March 10, 1956, at the Justice of the Peace in Otsego. With this favorite day of Richard’s life as their loving start, he and Donna chose to build their life together in Martin. When they welcomed their son Earl, their joy grew abundantly, and he quickly became the happy center of their lives.

With unwavering devotion to his family, Richard worked almost every day to support them as best as he could. For most of his life, he worked 12-18 hour days and usually seven days a week. A man who knew what he wanted and how to make it happen, Richard was known for the day he walked into Plainwell Paper Company and confidently announced, “I want a job!” After his many years of work at Valley Metal, Richard retired around 2000. Not one to be idle for long, Richard soon found a job as a Walmart greeter. For the next ten years, Richard enthusiastically welcomed shoppers and eagerly shared his enthusiasm for each day.

Though Richard’s work life left little time for hobbies and leisure, he always found time for the children in his life. He relished in being a grandfather and enjoyed nothing more than spending his days in the good company of his grandchildren, Lana and Eric, and his great granddaughters, Brittany and Sydnie. Whether working in the red barn, mowing the lawn together, or taking the grandkids on vacation, Richard’s joy was spending time with those he loved.

Richard truly never met a stranger; his greatest gifts were his natural charm, good humor, and a sincere love of people. Richard knew how to make people laugh, feel welcome, and know their value. In his heart, many found safe harbor in the worst of Life’s storms. Whether he knew you for a moment or a lifetime, Richard looked you in the eyes, smiled wholeheartedly, and blessed you with his visible and unwavering faith in the goodness of others. Even in the face of life’s greatest challenges, Richard found a way to recognize and be grateful the gifts in his life. The greatest of these being the people he so loved.

Though life is surely duller without Richard’s wonderful wit, robust laughter, and passion for people may it afford deep comfort to know that with each heartfelt “hello” and generous hand we offer another that we are living the beauty of Richard’s legacy in our daily lives. May the enthusiasm for life and devotion to others that Richard so easily lived serve as an infinite light of inspiration for all who were blessed to share his life.

Richard Gruber, age 82 of Martin passed away on August 25, 2017, at his home. Richard was born on January 11, 1935, to Harold & Carra (Kree) Gruber. A memorial service will held on Tuesday, Sept. 5 at 1:00 at the River of Life Church: 605 W. Allegan St. in Otsego. Richard’s family includes his son Earl; his grandson Eric (Nikki Krzykwa) Gruber; 2 great grandchildren: Brittany Gruber and Sydnie Gruber; siblings: Russell, Paul, Edger, Grace, and Glenda as well as several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife Donna; granddaughter Lana; siblings: Harold, Vivian, Ethelyn, Carolyn, Leona, Ronald, and Donald. Please visit Richard’s memory page at www.lifestorynet.com where you can read his life story, archive a memory or photo and sign his memory book online. Memorial donations can be made to American Cancer Society.