(Topic ID: 342291)

In memory of my father: Joe Grenuk

By JAG94

10 months ago


Topic Heartbeat

Topic Stats

You

Linked Games

No games have been linked to this topic.

    Topic Gallery

    View topic image gallery

    IMG_5631 (resized).jpeg
    IMG_5633 (resized).jpeg
    IMG_5632 (resized).jpeg
    71
    #1 10 months ago

    Three years ago my father, Joe Grenuk, passed away peacefully of natural causes at 67 years old. Initially I did not know if I would share this, but ultimately, I decided it was time.

    My father was born in 1952 and grew up in Hollywood Florida. He was a graduate of Florida State University, as am I. My Dad was smart, innovative, charismatic, hard working, curious, and meticulous. Professionally, he worked in the telecommunication field, and worked his way up to becoming one of the Vice Presidents of BellSouth in Atlanta, GA in the 1990s.

    When I was born in 1994, my Dad was in the process of collecting and restoring Gottlieb Woodrails and 1960s-1970s Gottlieb Wedgeheads. At this point he only had one DMD machine, and it was The Addams Family Gold. He took a picture of me on the glass of the machine when I was a baby. He loved pinball, and he would tell me stories about how he played certain machines as a kid when he would go to the arcade in the 1960s. Specifically he spoke about how he recalled playing a Gottlieb Foto Finish and Williams Skill Pool right next to each other as a kid. As I get older I realize that we had so much in common, and pinball was what connected us the most.

    My Dad and I took many pinball trips. Those road trips were some of my favorite memories with him. I recall Pinball Expo 2003 when Terminator 3 was just released. I was 9 years old when we went to this show. I specifically remember us playing Attack From Mars and we had so much fun with it. At this point he wasn’t really into collecting SS machines, but that would change as the years went on. My Dad and I attended multiple Expos, York shows, and Allentown. When we went to a big show, we always rented a mini van or a large truck so we could move machines along our route. On these trips my Dad and I would always stop at Hardees for breakfast, listen to talk radio, and he would teach me about how the world worked.

    Whenever my Dad and I went on vacations together we would always try to find machines to play. We took a trip out west when I was 11 years old. For part of this trip we visited Las Vegas. I remember us stopping at a laundromat, and there was a Bally Bowl-O that was owned by Tim Arnold. We played this machine until our clothes were done.

    The trip we took most often was to Hilton Head. We went multiple times a year, and always brought our bikes so we could use them as our means of transportation. There was a Fuddruckers that we would go to every trip, and at this location was a Lord of the Rings. We would play for hours on $0.50 and won so many free games we would have to leave them on the machine because we would be there playing while they were closing.

    During the 1990s my father was relentless in finding the rarest Gottlieb machines. He told me a story about how he tracked down two Gottlieb TKOs in Argentina. He had a business trip scheduled to go there. On his trip he had his assistant go and pick up the machines and load them on to the company jet so he could bring them home. If you own a high end restored TKO with a completely repainted cabinet, NOS playfield, and NOS backglass, there is a high chance that my father restored it as he restored a total of three of those machines.

    In my teenage years (mid 2000s) my father began collecting and restoring more than just EM machines. He began to obtain 90s DMD machines such as AFM, MB, MM, TZ, CV, etc. I recall he purchased a DMD machine that was restored by HEP, and there came a time when he felt he could do just as good, if not a better job than them at restoring machines. My father began doing high end restorations on DMD machines, and they turned out absolutely perfect. Over the past few years, he did multiple top to bottom restorations. He even placed a sticker on the lockdown bar of these machines which read “Restored by: Joe Grenuk”.

    If you happen to own a Joe Grenuk restoration/machine, please shoot me a message as I would love to know where they ended up and potentially work something out to own them.

    I have countless memories and stories, but didn't want to make this post too long.

    I know many of you interacted with my father in one way or another. I felt that the pinball community should know that he is no longer with us. I miss my father. I have gone through and read every single post on every thread he made on Pinside. He has been in my dreams at least once a week since he passed. I can’t believe that he is gone, and I think about him every day.

    I also hope wherever my father is, that he can rest knowing he had a strong impact on me, this community, and his friends he made in his journey of life.

    #2 10 months ago

    Loved and remembered.

    LTG : )

    #3 10 months ago

    I remember his posts on RGP

    #4 10 months ago

    Thanks for sharing. My father is still living, but I know that day is soon coming. I won't pretend to say I understand your loss, how could I? Having lost other friends and loved ones over the years, try to focus on the positive like you are doing. He sounds like a wonderful person and father. You were blessed to have him. And as a father, I know he was blessed to have you. A father could only hope their son would post a public tribute like this. He may be gone, but he will never die as long as he remains in your heart.

    #5 10 months ago

    Your Dad was awesome. I sold him a couple games over the years! You probably won’t remember but I think you were both here to buy a Shadow with a cleared pf. I had an orange Challenger under a car cover that your Dad pointed out to you. And I saw the CFTBL with the bottom cab repair. Your Dad saw that I loved the bit socket he used for leg bolts and just gave it to me. I still think of you both every time I use it. So sorry for your loss - the world needs more people like your Dad!!! I always thought it was so cool that you were always with him - so great that you too spent a lot of time together.

    #6 10 months ago

    Never met your Dad but that was a moving tribute. I hope my sons remember me as fondly!

    12
    #7 10 months ago

    If remembering your Dad still hurts, it's a good thing. It means it was real and how much you valued him.
    We lost our fathers ~ the same time. Rarely a day goes by I don't quote him. It's my way of keeping his memory alive and sharing his wisdom. The sadness suddenly turns to joy. It's simply amazing how much more empty the world feels without parents.

    #8 10 months ago

    That was a really nice tribute. I also remember his name from rec.games.pinball. Can't recall any interactions we had personally, but he was a helpful guy for sure!

    #9 10 months ago

    As you already know, I have an AFM, Monster Bash an MM that your dad restored! Him and Dave Metrando also restored a TKO for me and I believe Adam now owns it. He was a good man and did a great job on all 4 of machines he did for me!

    Nice job Jack!

    #10 10 months ago

    I purchased your dad’s beautifully restored Centaur two years ago from Julie Grenuk who might be your mom? One of the many things that really impressed me about his work is the Bally logo underneath layers of clearcoat on the game’s legs! You don’t see that level of attention to detail everyday.

    I had a couple nice conversations with Julie about your dad’s work and his dedication to the hobby. Please tell her how much I appreciated the opportunity to own this game. It’s one of the jewels in my collection of early solid-state Ballys. I also enjoyed your heartfelt tribute here. Your pop sounds like he was a terrific father, and I’m sure he’d be proud.

    IMG_5631 (resized).jpegIMG_5631 (resized).jpegIMG_5632 (resized).jpegIMG_5632 (resized).jpegIMG_5633 (resized).jpegIMG_5633 (resized).jpeg
    #11 10 months ago
    Quoted from Dakine747:

    I purchased your dad’s beautifully restored Centaur two years ago from Julie Grenuk who might be your mom? One of the many things that really impressed me about his work is the Bally logo underneath layers of clearcoat on the game’s legs! You don’t see that level of attention to detail everyday.
    I had a couple nice conversations with Julie about your dad’s work and his dedication to the hobby. Please tell her how much I appreciated the opportunity to own this game. It’s one of the jewels in my collection of early solid-state Ballys. I also enjoyed your heartfelt tribute here. Your pop sounds like he was a terrific father, and I’m sure he’d be proud.
    [quoted image][quoted image][quoted image]

    My father and I picked this machine up when I was still in high school. He did a top down restoration on it. One thing you may notice, check the drop target mechanisms. Typically Bally drop targets won't go down all the time. He added his own modification to them to make them go down easier. I'm sure if you look, you'll see it.

    #12 10 months ago

    Love this post! Your father was clearly an awesome pinhead and an even more impressive father. Such a nice tribute! Sorry for your loss.

    #13 10 months ago

    I was shocked when I heard of your dad's passing. The last time I saw him was at Pinfest, when he brought a beautifully restored Gottlieb "World Champ" woodrail to the show. It was so nice, I didn't want to touch it, and humbly asked if I could play it.
    Your dad appeared robust, and the picture of health. That's why I couldn't believe he had passed.
    I remember seeing you with him at the shows, but I rarely spoke with either of you.
    Thank you for this tribute to your dad, and may he rest in peace; or at least among clanging bells and clicking relays!

    #14 10 months ago

    Thanks for sharing. Bless you and your family.

    #15 10 months ago

    Yep, Joe was one of the good guys.
    Wally

    #16 10 months ago
    Quoted from jrpinball:

    I was shocked when I heard of your dad's passing. The last time I saw him was at Pinfest, when he brought a beautifully restored Gottlieb "World Champ" woodrail to the show. It was so nice, I didn't want to touch it, and humbly asked if I could play it.
    Your dad appeared robust, and the picture of health. That's why I couldn't believe he had passed.
    I remember seeing you with him at the shows, but I rarely spoke with either of you.
    Thank you for this tribute to your dad, and may he rest in peace; or at least among clanging bells and clicking relays!

    Thank you for the kind words. I remember that World Champ, it was perfect. That's what he did, he restored machines so they were perfect and usually to factory specs.

    At shows my father and I usually had an agenda, we were always buying and selling machines, catching up with people we planned to get together with at the shows.

    His death was a shock to me as well, as he did exercise regularly and had been trying to take care of his health in his later years.

    #17 10 months ago

    Wonderful tribute...your dad raised you well!

    #18 10 months ago

    I am sorry to learn about this.

    I sold Joe a Surfer pinball about ten years ago and later sold him my pre-ordered WoZ limited when they were just coming out — I never got to meet him in person but he was always a pleasure to deal with via email.

    Reply

    Wanna join the discussion? Please sign in to reply to this topic.

    Hey there! Welcome to Pinside!

    Donate to Pinside

    Great to see you're enjoying Pinside! Did you know Pinside is able to run without any 3rd-party banners or ads, thanks to the support from our visitors? Please consider a donation to Pinside and get anext to your username to show for it! Or better yet, subscribe to Pinside+!


    This page was printed from and we tried optimising it for printing. Some page elements may have been deliberately hidden.

    Scan the QR code on the left to jump to the URL this document was printed from.