Richard “Dick” Gref
Richard “Dick” Gref was born in Cleveland, Ohio. He lived an exceptionally healthy life although he had many close calls with death which involved motorcycles, cars, boats, airplanes, and even an attempted kidnapping in the middle east.
Dick met Pam Stikeleather while they were both attending Ohio University. In July of 1964, they were married at College Hill Presbyterian church. In 1969, they welcomed their son, Michael, into their home. Four years later they were blessed with their daughter, Karen. Family was important to Dick, and he enjoyed finding ways to share his interests with his children.
One of Dick’s greatest joys was making music. He was a drummer for over 60 years starting in junior high, all the way through the Ohio University marching band, as well as many local Cleveland bands. He also enjoyed at least 27 years of playing in four church handbell choirs with his loving and talented wife who directed handbell choirs for over 20 of those years.
Much of Dick’s life revolved around his love for nature. He enjoyed hiking, backpacking, downhill skiing, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, rappelling, caving, and 55 years of golfing. He also spent over 35 years as a volunteer troop scouter. His son, Mike, was in his troop for several years. While Dick was with the Boy Scouts, he went on national and World Scout Jamborees. He received numerous awards including being awarded the Scouter’s Key and, the highest award, the Silver Beaver award. Through scouting, he had the honor and pleasure of working with Erich Kunzel during Boy Scout flag ceremonies in front of thousands of people attending the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra.
Dick also enjoyed a lifetime of pets. He had a pet monkey in college. It had a habit of throwing its feces at everyone but Dick. But most of his pets were Labradors. His favorite dog, given to him by his daughter, Karen, was an adorable chocolate Labrador, Diva Godiva. She enjoyed sitting in his kayak as they paddled around lakes and rivers.
Blessed with the opportunity to work in the same occupation for over 50 years, Dick worked with the following Fortune 500 companies: General Electric, Coca Cola, Xomox (a division of Emerson Electric), and the Copeland Corporation. During the 13 years Dick worked at Copeland, he was responsible for overseeing plants in 14 foreign countries. He traveled to many of them, adding up to four continents. On one of those trips, he had the fortune to see the fall of the Berlin wall. In 1996, at the invitation of the State Bureau of Foreign Exchange Administration, Dick was one of eight people representing the United States on a two-week trip to China. They met with high-ranking government officials, the People’s Bank of China, state administrations of Finance and Economics, and many others. He made over 26 trips to China between 1993 and 2008.
Dick served on the board of the following Board of Directors:
FCIB (Finance Credit & International Business: 22 years
MVITA -Miami Valley International Trade Assoc (past president): 20 years
NACM- National Association of Credit Management: 50 years
SODEC Southern Ohio District Export Council: 9 years
After retiring from Xomox in in 2007, Dick continued sharing his many years of knowledge and experience. He also kept busy with speaking engagements at Xavier University, The Ohio State University, Wright State University, University of Cincinnati, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council and European American Chamber of Commerce, and many others.
Dick is survived by his wife of 57 Years, Pam Stikeleather Gref; his children, Michael Gref, Karen Gref Brown (Will); his five grandchildren, Joshua Gref, Grant Gref, Justin Brown, Nate Brown, and Kate Brown; and his brother, Robert “Bob” Gref (Aloise). He is proceeded in death by his parents, Michael Gref, and Catherine Gref.
Dick will be laid to rest at Arlington Memorial Gardens.