ebook  History of Watertown, Wisconsin


John A. Gruel dies at 85


Former Volunteer Fireman in City; Funeral Sunday




One of the city’s old and well-known residents, John A. Gruel, Sr., aged 85, is dead.  He passed away at the Jefferson Hospital following an illness of two months.  He was making his home here with his son-in-law and daughter, Mr. and Mrs. Elmer Olson, 604 Western Avenue, prior to his illness.


Mr. Gruel was a lifelong resident of Watertown, having been born here Nov. 18, 1874, a son of the late Mr. and Mrs. Albert Gruel.


On Oct. 19, 1901 he married Miss Anna Behling.  She died here in 1949.


Surviving Mr. Gruel are four daughters and one son, Mrs. William Paskey, Mrs. Elsie Cowen, Mrs. Joseph Checkai, Mrs. Elmer Olson and John A. Gruel, Jr., all of Watertown.  There are 10 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.  Also surviving are one sister, Mrs. Clara Sell and a sister-in-law, Mrs. Lydia Gruel, both of Watertown.  Five brothers preceded Mr. Gruel in death.


Mr. Gruel who had retired some years ago was for 54 years an employee of the G. B. Lewis Co. here and for 42 years he was a member of the old Watertown Volunteer Fire Department.  In his time he helped fight some of the city’s biggest fires.  He never lost his interest in the fire department and until illness prevented him from visiting the department, he was a regular caller there. 


His son is now a member of the department. 


Mr. Gruel was known to countless friends for his good nature, his sense of humor and his ability to get along with people.  It can be said that once he made a friend he never lost him.  He was kind toward and considerate of others and his many likeable qualities stamped and marked his whole life.


Mr. Gruel was a member of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church.


Funeral services will be conducted at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Hafemeister Funeral Home, the Rev. James Fricke officiating.  Interment will be in the Lutheran Cemetery.


Friends may pay their respects at the funeral home on Saturday from 3 to 9 p.m. and also Sunday prior to the service.



Cross reference note:  Stayed with Mr. and Mrs. Elmer Olson.  Elmer was bright engineer who also worked at GBL.  Elmer was the author of several key patents at GBL.  He was my supervisor for 4 years in the engineering department.  I did the patent drawings on one of his patents.  – Jim Frater.





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