John E. Grammel passed away peacefully at home on January 24, 2024. We will all miss him dearly.
John Ernst Grammel was born on April 9, 1933 in New York City to Paul and Mary Grammel. He was the younger brother of Leonard P. Grammel, who passed away in 2008.
John graduated from Cardinal Hayes High School in The Bronx and then enrolled at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, New York. He went to college with a suitcase and a typewriter and the enthusiasm of someone ready for all the opportunities that awaited him.
While in Syracuse, he met Mary Cathryn Kraemer, a local young woman who was enrolled at Syracuse University. They met in the summer of 1953 at the St. Thomas More Newman Club on campus. John was enrolled in summer school because, as he liked to tell us, he had flunked Organic Chemistry and needed to catch up. The story goes that Mary encouraged him to buckle down and study so he could remain on track to graduate in 1955, which he did.
After graduating, John began work at Consolidated Paper in Wisconsin in June 1955. His early working career was interrupted when he was drafted into the US Army in December 1956. He was stationed in Albuquerque, New Mexico for his two years’ service. John and Mary were engaged in 1956 and married in Syracuse on December, 28, 1957. After their wedding, John returned to his military service. Mary joined him in New Mexico and set up their household in a basement apartment down the road from the base.
In December 1958, daughter Mary Anne joined the family just in time for a move back to Wisconsin, where John returned to his job at Consolidated Paper. While in Wisconsin, sons Stephen and David joined the family. After much research for a better job opportunity that included interviews in Maine, Massachusetts and New York, John accepted an offer at Publishers Paper in Oregon City, Oregon. He was the company’s first hire with a Pulp and Paper degree. In 1963 the family moved across the country. Son James was born shortly afterwards. The move was a happy one for more than just the good job opportunity. John and Mary would joke that the rain in Oregon wasn’t bothersome as it didn’t need to be shoveled!
John and Mary settled into the home they built on Heights Court in Milwaukie, Oregon. John worked at Publishers Paper, later Smurfit Newsprint, until his retirement in 1997. All the children spent one or more summers working at the mill. When one of the pulp digesters “blew” and soured the smell of the air, John used to tell the family that it was “the smell of money!” Because of his hard work and John and Mary’s conscientious spending, all four children were able to attend Oregon State University and secure their degrees. We are all grateful.
In 1986, John and Mary moved to a new “empty nester” home in Tualatin, Oregon and quickly became friends with their neighbors in the Fox Hill development. Their corner lot was known for its beautiful lawn and the rose garden that John tended in all types of weather. They were early members of Resurrection Catholic Parish originally on the campus of Marylhurst College and later at the church campus built in Tualatin. John was a Eucharistic Minister and a Sacristan at the Church.
In retirement, John volunteered with the Red Cross at mobile blood donation events and became known among his friends and neighbors as the go-to guy when they needed help with their computers. John enjoyed golfing and up until a few years ago met friends for a regular weekly round at Lake Oswego Golf Course, with a round of mochas to follow. When their golfing days were over, the friends continued to meet for Monday mochas at Wankers Corner.
In 2014, John and Mary moved to Mary’s Woods in Lake Oswego, Oregon and settled into their apartment. John was involved in many activities at Mary’s Woods, including serving as a President of the Residents Council and serving on the Board of Directors for two years. He also enjoyed weekly bridge games and gym classes at Mary's Woods. John and Mary have made many friends at Mary’s Woods. The concern and care shown by their friends and the Mary’s Woods staff are deeply appreciated.
In addition to his wife Mary and children Mary Anne McConnel of Washington, DC, Stephen of Vancouver, Washington and James (Ann Gifford) of Juneau, Alaska, John is survived by grandchildren Sarah McConnel (Katie), Amy McConnel (Rich Myslinski) ,Ben Grammel (Varvara), Gabrielle Vance and Bridger Vance, great grandchildren Declan, Maeve and Piper and many nieces and nephews. John was preceded in death by his parents, brother, and son David Grammel.
There will be two funerals, one on February 15th at Mary’s Woods for residents and one on February 16th at Resurrection Catholic Parish
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Resurrection Catholic Parish School at https://www.resurrectioncatholicprimary.com/donate