Dr. Richard Ross Gruetzemacher II (Dick) passed away peacefully at his home in Chickamauga, Georgia, while surrounded by his family and close friends, on January 20, 2017, after a long, courageous battle with cancer.
Dick was born on June 1, 1945, in St. Louis, as the only son to Doris (who passed away during childbirth) and Richard Gruetzemacher. Dick was raised by and was very close to his stepmother, Patricia Turk Gruetzemacher.
Dick graduated from Crystal City High School in Crystal City, Mo., in 1963. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Secondary Education from Delta State University in Cleveland, Ms. He began his career by teaching freshman history at Fernwood Junior High School in Biloxi, Mississippi, where he also worked with the Drug Education Program. He then relocated to Hattiesburg, Mississippi to work for the Upward Bound Program at William Carey College. He earned his Ed.D in Educational Leadership at the University of Southern Mississippi in 1981. While at USM, he taught education courses and supervised student teaching. He then served as assistant director of Institutional Research.
Dick met his wife, Gay, at USM, and they were married in 1982 in Hattiesburg. With their two sons, Ross and Hal, they relocated to Chattanooga in 1988, where Dick joined the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga as the Director of Planning, Evaluation, and Institutional Research. “Dr. G” was a beloved member of the UTC community throughout his 26 years working there. He retired in 2014.
Dick had a lifelong love for the outdoors. He enjoyed biking, fishing, camping, and backpacking. He was an avid Boy Scout as a youth and served as a scoutmaster for both of his sons. In his spare time, Dick was a history connoisseur, a college football fan, and an excellent cook. He also enjoyed traveling, and later in life, he fulfilled his dream of visiting England, Scotland, and Ireland with his wife and sons.
Dick was a founding member of the Anglican Church of the Redeemer (est. 2004). He served as the Church’s first Senior Warden of the Vestry and helped lead the Church to its permanent home on McBrien Road in Chattanooga.
Dick was preceded in death by his parents, his stepmother, and his Aunt Eleanor Burlage.
He is survived by his wife, Gay, his two sons, Ross and Hal (daughter-in-law, Lynzi), his Aunt Martha Dodson, and his first cousins, Marie Whitacre, Sue Lhotka, Ed Gruetzemacher, Mike Gruetzemacher, Patty Lytle, and Bill Dodson, along with several second cousins.
Dick and his family wish to thank Dr. Davey Daniel and his staff at Tennessee Oncology at Memorial Hospital and Dr. Jesus Berdeja and his staff at Tennessee Oncology at SCRI (Nashville, Tennessee) for their guidance, dedication, and kindness throughout the past few years. They also thank Amedisys Home Health Care (LaFayette, Georgia) and Hearth Hospice (Summerville, Georgia) for their compassionate care this past year. In lieu of flowers, his family requests that donations be made in Dick’s honor to the Hope Lodge (Nashville, Tennessee), which graciously provided a home for Dick and Gay during his stem-cell transplants, or the Anglican Church of the Redeemer (Chattanooga, Tennessee).
Visitation will be held on Monday, Jan. 23, from 4-8 p.m. at Wann Funeral Home. The funeral service will take place on Tuesday, Jan. 24, at 11 a.m. at the Anglican Church of the Redeemer, followed by burial in Forest Hills Cemetery.
Arrangements are by Wann Funeral Home & Cremation Center, 4000 Tennessee Avenue,
Chattanooga, TN 37409 (423) 821-7551.
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