Margaret 'Dick' Grigsby; 1917-2013: Family came first despite many careers


Margaret “Dick” Grigsby, who worked her way through college and who held several satisfying jobs as she raised her family and served as a support to her newspaper-reporter husband, died Oct. 24. in Carlyle House, Kettering, Ohio. She was 95.

She had advanced dementia and was in declining health, her daughter, Gail, said. Mrs. Grigsby and her husband, John, lived in Swan Creek Retirement Village for several years.

Mr. Grigsby, a respected Blade reporter for a half century, died in January, 2011. She moved to the Dayton area to be close to her son Rick and his family.

Mrs. Grigsby in the 1950s wrote for trade journals, especially those of Fairfield Publications and its Women’s Wear Daily.

She returned to school in order to obtain a teaching certificate and, in the late 1950s, taught kindergarten and first grade as a substitute in the Toledo Public Schools.

During the 1960s, Mrs. Grigsby conducted interviews under contract with the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research for its consumer confidence surveys.

She especially enjoyed her role in the 1970s as a project manager for National Family Opinion in the Toledo area.

“She liked directing people,” her daughter said. “She wasn’t afraid to speak her mind and wasn’t afraid to express what would work best in this situation.”

She regarded her No. 1 job, even while employed, as being home when she needed to be, her son Rick said.

“She had a strong sense of dedication,” he said. “She was committed to Dad and the family.”

Her husband considered himself a reporter around the clock, and she grew accustomed to his leaving a dinner party or sending last-minute regrets, she told The Blade for a 1964 profile of her husband. A big fire after midnight would prompt her husband to wake the children so that they could accompany him. Mrs. Grigsby went too.

“She was more private, home-oriented. Dad was more sociable, and in some ways they brought out the best in each other,” their daughter said.

Mrs. Grigsby was born Oct. 31, 1917, in Toledo to Joy and Earl Hartman. Her parents, expecting a boy, picked out the name Richard. They named her Margaret but called her Dick, and that’s the name she used all her life.

Mrs. Grigsby’s father was a carpenter, and her mother was a teacher, and she could not remember a time when the family didn’t struggle to make ends meet, her daughter said. The family’s plight worsened when her father was injured on the job during the Great Depression.

She began to watch neighbor children to earn money. She continued working as she attended the University of Toledo, from which she received a bachelor’s degree in 1941.

Mrs. Grigsby and her husband met at Flower Hospital, where she worked in the admitting department. He was there for a police beat assignment.

They married in September, 1944. She was a PTA and scout leader as her children were growing up. She was a member of First Unitarian Church.

Surviving are her sons, John A. and Richard H.; daughter, Gail Grigsby; four grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.

No services are planned. Mrs. Grigsby requested that her body be donated to the Wright State University medical school.

The family suggests tributes to the UT Alumni Association scholarship program or a hospice of the donor’s choice.

Contact Mark Zaborney at: or 419-724-6182.