Oct. 29, 1926 — April 14, 2019
Glenn H. Grundtisch was not a skater, but ice rinks were his life.
"I think I saw him on skates once, when I was about 8," said his son Mark Grundtisch, general manager of Holiday Twin Rinks in Cheektowaga, one of two family-owned rinks. "He would help coach, he just never wore skates. He would manage, organize and coach when we were younger. But he was not a hockey player."
Mr. Grundtisch died April 14, 2019, in his Amherst home after a short illness. He was general partner at Holiday Twin Rinks and vice president of Leisure Rinks in Orchard Park, which is managed by another son, Paul Grundtisch.
Mr. Grundtisch spent one day a week in the rink offices and called his sons daily to check on operations, said Mark Grundtisch
"He was the master scheduler of the ice rinks, plotting the teams and the groups and maximizing the use of the facilities," his son said. "He had the most experience doing it. Whenever we had a question, we would go to him for advice."
Mr. Grundtisch was born in Buffalo, the oldest child of Howard and Frances (Beaser) Grundtisch and brother of Donald and Lois. Howard Grundtisch was an electrician.
A 1944 graduate of Bennett High School, Mr. Grundtisch enlisted in the Army on March 26, 1945, and served honorably as a logistics technician on the Island of Japan. He was discharged in 1946.
He then attended Canisius College with assistance from the GI Bill and graduated as a member of the DiGamma Honor Society. He studied at the University at Buffalo School of Business Administration, then became a vice president of Hewitt-Robbins on Kensington Avenue in Buffalo, where he was instrumental in developing the hosing used for aerial refueling.
Mr. Grundtisch married Maureen Donigan on June 17, 1950, and they raised their five children — Gregory, Mark, Paul, Gary and Cynthia — in Buffalo.
In the 1950s, he was one of a half-dozen Army buddies who helped each other build vacation cottages at Thunder Bay Beach in Ridgeway, Ont. "They didn't have power tools; they built them all with hammers and saws," said Mark Grundtisch.
The group vacationed there together for 40 years and their families grew close. All the men lived into at least their 80s, although in recent years Mr. Grundtisch was among the few left.
Throughout the 1960s, Mr. Grundtisch was president of the local branch of Citizens for Educational Freedom, a group that lobbied to assist parents who chose to send their children to private or parochial schools. "He was a big proponent of providing parents choice in education," said his son.
In the early 1970s, after the Buffalo Sabres were awarded a National Hockey League franchise, an ice rink fever swept the area. Dozens of rinks were proposed. Leisure Rinks in West Seneca was designed and built by Mr. Grundtisch and a business partner in 1973. It has operated continuously since that time as a privately owned ice rink.
In 1975, Mr. Grundtisch purchased Holiday Twin Rinks in Cheektowaga after its owners declared bankruptcy.
Leisure Rinks was the home of the Buffalo Sabres hockey school, which ran for eight weeks each summer in the mid-1970s. Over the years, the Sabres practiced at both Holiday Twin and at Leisure rinks.
In 1979, Mr. Grundtisch was a leader in the unsuccessful fight to save St. John Neumann High School in Williamsville from closure.
Mrs. Grundtisch died Aug. 28, 1993. In 1996, Mr. Grundtisch married Marcia Studer, and the couple moved to Amherst.
Mr. Grundtisch was an avid golfer and tennis player and a master bridge player. He loved a good political discussion, his son said. A parishioner of Christ the King Church in Snyder, he was in recent years a volunteer with Meals on Wheels.
His family said, "His legacy of fairness and love will remain strong for generations."
Besides his wife, Marcia Studer Grundtisch, Mr. Grundtisch is survived by three sons, Gregory, Mark and Paul; one stepson, Gregory Graesser; three stepdaughters, Catherine Brogan, Ann Finn and Christine Gertner; 15 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9:30 a.m. Monday in Christ the King Catholic Church, 30 Lamarck Drive, Snyder.