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Rev. A. Ray Grienke

Rev. A. Ray Grienke

A. Ray Grienke, 82, beloved husband, father, grandfather and friend passed away Tuesday, March 10, 2020. Ray was born on August 10, 1937, in Alta, Iowa, to Florence and Alfred Grienke. He graduated from Alta High School in 1956. After working several jobs in Iowa, South Dakota, Minnesota and Indiana, Ray felt called to the ministry, so he went for further schooling. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Services from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, 1964, then his Master of Theology degree from Southern Seminary in Louisville, KY, 1969.

He married Beverly (Hoffman) Grienke of St. Joseph, MO, a teacher, in 1967 at King Hill Baptist Church. Ray and his wife lived in New Castle, Indiana, for two years where he pastored the New Castle U. Methodist Church, then in many towns in western Michigan for the next 29 years where he pastored churches: Battle Creek: Sonoma/Newton; Boyne City/Boyne Falls; Kent City: Chapel Hill; Carson City. Ray was very involved in community activities in each of his parishes, organizing church leagues of softball, bowling, and volleyball, as well as, bicycling groups.

Ray and Beverly had three children, Beth, Daniel, and Paul. In 2001 his son Daniel, a teacher in Big Rapids, MI, died unexpectedly at the age of 28. Upon retirement in 1999, Ray and his wife moved to St. Joseph, MO, the hometown of his wife. For several years, he served intermittently as interim minister of First Presbyterian Church in Savannah, MO, where he grew to love the people and cherished their friendships.  

Ray attended First Christian Church, Francis Street United Methodist Church, Huffman United Methodist Church, Zion United Church of Christ and many other churches of the area. He appreciated the different and various ministries and messages of our city.

He enjoyed fishing, especially several times each year in Canada. Another hobby was gardening. Ray earned his Master Gardener certification and took pride in his many fruit trees and flowers. Also, he was a faithful participant of the exercise program at Joyce Rae Patterson Senior Center where he made many good friends. He served as the first president of the Fitness Club at the Center and was a member of the Senior Center Foundation. Ray also enjoyed walking every day.

Ray is survived by his wife, Beverly; a daughter, Beth Kar, and her son, Benjamin, of St. Joseph; and a son and his wife, Paul and Jessica Grienke, and their five children, Jennah, Carter, Hudson, Norah, and Harrison from Okemos, MI. Also, he was close to his brother Gilbert and his wife Arlene, his sisters-in-laws Barbara Hoffman and Margaret Worthy (her husband Wayne); brother-in-law, Everet Hoffman (his wife Janalee) and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, sister Dorothy Allen, brother Lyle Grienke and Ray and Beverly’s son Daniel who was engaged to Kristyn Kurka.

His unselfish love for others will be forever remembered and deeply missed by all.

A Celebration of Life service will be held at First Christian Church in St. Joseph, MO at 2:00 PM on Saturday, March 21, officiated by Rev. Brian Kirk. Family will receive friends at the church from 1:00-2:00 PM that day. Memorial contributions can be made to First Christian Church, St. Joseph, Missouri. Online condolences and obituary can be found at