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It is with great sadness that the family of Joseph R. Grunda announces his passing on Tuesday, October 1, 2019, at the age of 86. He was born on May 11, 1933, the son of Joseph G. Grunda and Katherine (nee Kuhn) Grunda. Married to Joyce (nee Hupp) Grunda for 68 memorable years, he was a loving husband and father of five children.
Joseph “Joe” graduated from Lorain High School, class of 1950, and then continued his thirst for knowledge at Bowling Green State University and Fenn College before ultimately deciding to pursue a career in law. While balancing a full-time job and supporting his young family, Joseph displayed his trademark self-confidence and work ethic by putting himself through law school.
In 1958 he received a unique and special degree known as a Doctor of Law, which is no longer offered, from Cleveland Marshall Law School and embarked on his accolade-studded legal career. After receiving his law degree, Joe’s first job in the legal field was with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, but his legal career was just getting started. Throughout his life, Joseph was a Referee for Probate Court in Lorain County, served as an assistant Lorain County Prosecutor, and was eventually elected in 1968 as the Lorain County Prosecutor.
Serving as Lorain County Prosecutor for 12 years, Joe challenged the status quo and worked hard to better the profession. Having vision and forethought ahead of his time, he pioneered several programs that are now considered standard throughout much of the legal field, including the first Diversion program, Victim Witness program, and the MEG Unit. Additionally, he also required all of his assistants to complete continuing legal education which is now mandated by the Supreme Court of Ohio.
A fierce and prominent trial attorney, Joe zealously advocated for clients, winning multiple high-profile cases. After completing his last public service role with the Auditor’s Office for the State of Ohio, Joe then transitioned solely into private practice, partnering in the law firm Cirigliano & Grunda, and later Grunda & Grunda Attorneys at Law with his son, Joseph C. Grunda, where he aggressively represented his clients’ interests. Throughout his career, Joe was actively involved in several professional organizations including: former president and member of the Ohio Prosecuting Attorney's Association; former president and member of the Lorain County Bar Association; and member of the Ohio State Bar Association. As the former Vice Chairman, Joe was a leader in the Lorain County Democratic Party.
Joe was talented in many other areas outside of the legal field. He raced stock cars in the early 1950's at the Lorain County Speedway and was a member of his son Joe’s 1988 Championship Supermodified Grunda Racing Team. From the late 1950's to the mid 1960's he obtained his pilot’s license and began to fly airplanes. Though he loved being in the sky, he wasn’t able to fit his family of seven in the plane, and decided to pursue his second true passion where space was not an issue – boating on the Great Lakes. Ever a doting and loving husband, he named all his boats “Gynshe”, his nickname for his wife, Joyce. He was a member of the Lorain Yacht Club and Vermilion Boat Club and always looked forward to boating rendezvous and extended trips. Above all though, Joe enjoyed spending time with his family, especially during the holidays.
There are many unspoken ways in which Joe impacted those who knew him. Joe touched many lives with his fascinating stories, poignant insight, and wisdom. Those with whom he shared these virtues are exceptionally fortunate.
He was predeceased by his father and mother. Survived by his wife, Joyce (nee Hupp) Grunda; sons, Attorney Joseph C. (Nancy) Grunda, Jeffrey Grunda, Attorney Jay B. Grunda; daughters, Joyce (David) Harrington and Justine (Bill) Burgdorf; grandchildren, Fallon, Bryan, Rebecca, Abigail, Brandon, Jaclyn-Carlee; great grandchildren, Harrison, Hudson, Thompson, Oakley, Delilah, and Grayson; and sisters, Katherine Prososki of Arizona, Sharol (John) Kniepper of Avon Lake and JoEllen Tummel of Tennessee.
The family would like to extend special thanks and appreciation to all the staff at Mercy New Life Hospice for their kindness and loving care during his final days.
Visitation will be held Monday, October 7th from 2:00 to 8:00 pm in Dovin Funeral and Cremation Specialists, 2701 Elyria Ave, Lorain, where funeral services to be held on Tuesday, October 8th, at 11:30 am. Rev. Craig Hovanec, pastor of St. Peter Parish, Lorain will officiate. Entombment will follow in Calvary Cemetery, Lorain.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations in Joseph's memory to Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, 26 Broadway, 14th Floor, New York NY 10004, Mercy New Life Hospice, 3500 Kolbe Rd, Lorain, OH 44053 or to a charity of your choice.
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