Leo Max Greunke was born in Jefferson City, Missouri, on the rainy day of June 16th, 1941 to Theodore Greunke, and Dorthea Greunke (Wehrend.) He was the third of four brothers, Carl, Martin, and Alvin. Their mother tragically passed away from pneumonia while they were very young. The brothers went to live with relatives in Nebraska, Carl and Marty to one uncle in Fremont and Leo and Alvin, to Otto and Alvina Greunke in Grant Nebraska where they joined their new older brother Richard.
Leo attended parochial school in a one room country schoolhouse at Trinity Lutheran Church in Ogallala, Nebraska until high school where he attended Perkins County High School. There, Leo thrived as an athlete playing a multitude of sports including basketball, football, and also ran track and field. Leo was proud of the fact that he never missed a day of high school having graduated in 1959 with perfect attendance. Leo was also an avid reader and tied a classmate for the most books read over summer break despite being six miles from the nearest library.
Leo had very fond memories of his childhood in the country, working on the family farm, milking cows, plowing the fields, tending to the chickens, and carrying irrigating pipe, among many other household chores, all proving to be excellent training for his sporting career.
Leo originally met his future wife Anna Lee Greunke (Velte) at Trinity Lutheran Church as a young boy only to become reacquainted with her in High School. The pair were married at Trinity on December 29th, 1963 and in the fall of 1964, relocated to Denver, Colorado.
Leo began work at The Grain Exchange. In 1966 joined the Air Force and was sent to Gulfport, Mississippi, Misawa, Japan and ultimately Danang, Vietnam in 1969 where he served in the 6924th Security Squadron. Leo was sent home after duty to meet his 7 month old son for the first time. Shortly after, their son Michael was born in 1970 followed by their daughter LeAnn in 1978.
Leo spent his career as superintendent of the Commerce City Grain Elevator where he put his hard earned farming knowledge to the test. Leo enjoyed the rigor and pace of the environment and made may lifetime friends along the way.
Leo was an avid churchgoer and lived his life to the principles of the Christian Church. Leo was gracious and kind and would sacrifice anything for his family and many friends. He was an active participant in The Veterans of Foreign Wars, Vietnam Veterans Group, and American Legion. He was anxiously awaiting his annual reunion coming this spring.
Leo was a lover of nature, animals, Nebraska football, all sports, his family and friends, classical music, storytelling, antique hunting, collecting, the extra terrestrial, veteran affairs, and gardening, among many other hobbies. Those who knew Leo anxiously awaited his home harvest of crops annually. Leo spent countless spring and summer hours nurturing his “therapy garden” and found great joy in sharing with others, what he had cultivated.
Leo could captivate a room with his stories of life, and graced us all with his goofy sense of humor. Leo was generous and kind and had the most sweet and gentle soul. His family will forever miss his incredible smile, kind demeanor, and fierce love of football.
He was preceded in death by his parents Theodore and Dorothea Greunke (Wehrend) of Missouri, and Otto and Alvina Greunke of Grant, Nebraska, his older brother Richard, and his wife Virginia Greunke, sister in law Cheryl Greunke, sister in law Dee Greunke, nephew Matthew Greunke, wife Anna Lee Greunke, and his 5 year old son Michael. He leaves to mourn, his son David, his wife Uta and their children Mari and Elin Greunke of Denver, Colorado, his daughter LeAnn and husband Don and their children Scarlett and Donny Sisson of Englewood, Colorado, his three brothers Carl and Barb Greunke of Fremont, Nebraska, Martin and Yvonne Greunke of Michigan, and Alvin Greunke of Aurora, Colorado, two sister in laws, Carol and her husband Harold Tickle of Alexandria, Virginia, and Louetta and her husband Burle Gengenbach of Roseville, Minnesota, a large number of cousins, nieces and nephews from both sides of the family, many friends, associates, and acquaintances.
Leo showed strength and determination later in life where he bravely battled heart disease, diabetes, and Merkel Cell Carcinoma. Leo was a survivor, had endured more than his fair share of loss and grief, and remained determined to not let any of his recent grievances get the best of his desire to spend each and every minute telling his adoring children and grandchildren how much they meant to him. Leo missed his wife Anna Lee every minute of his life. Leo took great care of us all and was the ultimate family man. He will be greatly missed.
Leo passed away unexpectedly at the age of 82 on Friday February 9th at Sky Ridge Medical Center after an acute battle with heart failure.
Visitation will be held at Horan & McConaty, 11150 E. Dartmouth Avenue, Aurora, CO.
Services for Leo will be held at Mt. Olive Lutheran Church in Aurora, Colorado on Saturday February 17th, at 10:30 am.