Thomas J. Grueninger, 87, of Massillon, Ohio, formally of Columbia, died Feb. 15, 2021. He was born May 16, 1933, son of the late son of the late Joseph and Dorothy (nee Hoock) Grueninger.
Tom was a long-time resident of Columbia growing up just outside of town, going to elementary school in Columbia and high school in East St. Louis. He joined the U.S. Navy where he traveled from Florida across the U.S.A. to the Pacific Ocean with an airwing on the USS Boxer just after the Korean war.
Afterwards, he returned to Columbia to work for the D.O.D. at Scott Air Force Base, continuing as a systems analysis for the U.S. Army in St. Louis before retiring with 37 years of service. He then developed Eagle Lake Estates building a 25-acre lake with exclusive home sites just outside of town.
Tom was a former Unit 4 School Board Member, City Alderman and Columbia Sportsman’s Club member. He loved traveling and camping but most of all fishing. He briefly competed in semi-national bass tournaments with his son and grandson. Tom moved from Columbia to Central Florida to enjoy the warmer weather and most recently just moved to Ohio for health care reasons.
He leaves behind sons Jeffrey (Ellen) Grueninger of Columbia, Gregory (Karen) Grueninger of Columbia and Daughter Melissa Grueninger of Swansea; granddaughter Elizabeth (Jeff) Bentrup of Chesterfield, Mo., grandson Andrew (Christa) Grueninger of Portland, Ore., grandson Matthew Grueninger USNA in Annapolis, Md.; great-granddaughters Abby and Kate Bentrup; sisters Joyce Rose and Suzanne (Marvin) Smith; cousins; nieces; and nephews.
He is also preceded in death by wife Betty J Grueninger; brother Roy Grueninger; son, Timothy Grueninger; and brother-in-law; Kenneth Rose.
A private service will be held at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery.