Daniel James Gruener, of Northport, Washington, died surrounded by family on Sunday, March 03, 2019 at Mount Carmel Hospital in Colville, Washington. He was 73 years old and had been diagnosed with cancer a few weeks prior.
Daniel was born on July 20, 1945 in Chardon, Ohio, to the late Elizabeth Posey (Bailey) Gruener and the late Theodore Gruener. Daniel attended boarding school at the Randell School in Denver, Colorado, graduated from Borah High School in Boise in 1963, and attended Boise State University and UC Berkeley. He served as an Air Force mechanic during the Vietnam War, stationed in Illinois. In 1971, he married Vicki Stewart in Ketchum, Idaho. They had a daughter together, Joy, and divorced in 1973. He had three significant relationships after that, with Judy Cook (mother of his daughters Penny and Posey), Nanci Mitchell (mother of his son Saul), and - his longest relationship, lasting more than two decades - with Debbie Becker (mother of his stepson Jake).
Dan had many homes, and many hometowns. He lived on a hay farm in Ohio in the 40s, in a ski town in Idaho in the 50s, on Haight-Ashbury in the late 60s, on a homestead in Alaska in the early 70s, in a commune called the Love Family in Washington State until the early 80s, on a sailboat in Mexico in the early 90s, and in a log cabin that he built himself in the woods of Northeastern Washington in the 2000s. In the 2010s, he mostly lived on the ski hill.
He is hard to forget, and fun to remember. Even during his lifetime, Dan’s friends and family would entertain themselves trying to one-up each other with their favorite (read: most outrageous) Danny Gruener stories. The time he and his ‘66 Ferrari led police in a 170mph car chase through eastern Oregon. (He insists a friend was driving. Contemporary police reports disagree.) The time he took his kids to the community pool at their new suburb and dove in wearing his bikini underwear. (They fell off.) The time he tried to bring his dog onto the plane by pretending it was a hearing ear dog. (He got caught). These are just a few.
Daniel was preceded in death by his parents Ted and Posey, by his sister Frederika “Rikka” Dryer and by her children Elizabeth “Bunny” Dryer and Babette “Boo” Chumita. He is survived by his daughters Joy Smith Dobson, Penny Fay Carothers, and Elizabeth Posey Gruener; by his son Saul Gruener; and by his stepson Jake Tempel. He is survived by his grandchildren Megan, Madison, Quinn, Spencer, and Oza. He is also survived by his nephew Frank Dryer and his niece Jody Gruener.
A memorial service for Dan’s ski buddies will take place at the base lodge at Red Mountain Resort, 4300 Red Mountain Road, Rossland, BC CANADA, on Thursday April 4th at 3:30pm.
A celebration of life will take place on Dan’s birthday, Saturday July 20, 2019, in Northport Washington. Bring your best Danny Gruener stories.