Sandy Grieve obituary.

In Our Prayers: Pierson ‘Sandy’ Grieve

Please remember in your prayers former University of St. Thomas trustee Pierson “Sandy” Grieve, who died peacefully in Naples, Florida, surrounded by family. He was 96 years old.

Grieve served on the Board of Trustees of the University of St. Thomas from 1995 to 2010. The Pierson M. & Florence B. Grieve Terrace at the Schoenecker Center is named in honor of Sandy and his deceased wife, Florence “Flo” Brogan Grieve.

Pierson M. & Florence B. Grieve Terrace.
The Pierson M. & Florence B. Grieve Terrace at the Schoenecker Center on the St. Paul campus. (Mark Brown/University of St. Thomas)

Grieve served as the chairman and CEO of Ecolab from 1983-95. When he was recruited to the top position there, the company was known as Economics Laboratory; the name change to Ecolab took place in 1986. During his tenure, Ecolab became a leading worldwide developer and marketer of cleaning and sanitizing products, systems and services for the hospitality, food service and food and beverage processing industries. Annual sales grew from $438 million to $2 billion during Grieve’s tenure, and the company became a Wall Street darling.

“Sandy Grieve offered exceptional leadership to the University of St. Thomas as a key member of its Board of Trustees. He chaired the Physical Facilities Committee during a particularly critical period of campus planning and construction,” President Emeritus Father Dennis Dease said. “His legacy is evident today in the beauty of our campus and the quality of its structures.”

Born in Flint and raised in Jackson, Michigan, Grieve’s skill for business was evident from his days in high school when he built up a successful lawn care business. He enlisted in the Navy after high school and after his honorable discharge, he earned a business degree from Northwestern University in 1949.

Sandy Grieve headshot.
Grieve was featured in the spring 2003 issue of St. Thomas magazine.

He spent several years as a management consultant before joining Rap-in-Wax, a Minneapolis manufacturer, where he rose to president by the age of 30. He then went on to become president of AP Parts in Toledo, Ohio, where he transformed the auto parts manufacturer into a global conglomerate renamed Questor Corporation.

Grieve retired in 1995 and continued the philanthropic and community work that he had nurtured throughout his career.

He helped build and fund the Dorothy Day Center in St. Paul and held board positions with many companies including Norwest Bank, The St. Paul Companies, MediaOne, Minnegasco, and Mesaba Airlines as well as community organizations including the Guthrie Theater, and the Minneapolis Institute of Art. He served as the chairman of the Board of Overseers of the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota, where Ecolab named its endowed chair in international marketing in his name, and a member of the Advisory Council of the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. He co-founded, along with several St. Thomas trustees, the Bank of Naples in Florida.

Gov. Arne Carlson appointed him to chair the Metropolitan Airports Commission and he also headed the Minnesota Business Partnership. He was awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor in 2004, Kappa Sigma Man of the Year in 1997, and the University of Minnesota’s Regents Award.

He was preceded in death by his beloved wife of more than 60 years, Florence “Flo” Brogan Grieve, his parents, and brother Alan. He is survived by his three children, Peggy, Scott and Bruce Grieve; five grandchildren; and a great-grandchild.

A family funeral will take place at Assumption Church. A Celebration of Life will be held in late spring. Contributions in lieu of flowers may be made to the Minnesota charity of your choice or one of his Minnesota favorites: the Dorothy Day Center in St. Paul, the Guthrie Theater, the University of St. Thomas, Minnesota Public Radio, Minneapolis Institute of Art, and the Carlson School of Management.