Leonard D. "Grizz" Grizzle
December 1, 1934 - April 30, 2018
Leonard David Grizzle—yes, David is his middle name—no, he didn’t like it one little bit. He preferred Grizz. Grizz was a man’s man. He may have been short in stature, but he was a giant to his family, the Street Department, and the Zionsville Fire Department. He served on the department over thirty years.
Grizz came from humble beginnings. At five years old, he delivered newspapers every morning. It scared him to death, but he brought in the money. When Grizz was twelve, he lost his father in a house fire, and became the head of his household. He worked every day after school at South Side Grocery to help support his mother and little siblings.
Grizz served in the Naval Reserve, previously serving 2 years active duty. He was an instructor, a mentor, and a guardian of all his fellow firefighters. There were many interesting adventures, pranks, and experiences. Above all, he risked his own life many times making sure his fellow firefighters were safe. He worked diligently at any task he took on and did it with a smile.
He narrowly escaped injury many times. In Grizz’s younger days, he was known as the “Attic Man”. He was perfect at maneuvering through narrow openings to hunt for hot spots. Not far behind him was his fellow firefighter, John. John preceded Grizz in death, but they always got the job done; by let’s just say, some questionable methods.
Grizz fell to the basement through the floor of an antique store, formally on Main Street. His fellow firefighters were wondering where he had disappeared to, and a wife anxiously awaiting at home listening on the fire scanner. After what seemed an eternity, he was able to be heard and got hauled up from the rubble.
He once climbed through the window of a burning home to rescue important papers from under a business owner’s bed. Unfortunately, no one mentioned the boxes of ammunition in the room as well. Needless to say, shells began to go off and Grizz made a quick escape out the window with the papers secured.
He would rescue all animals he met with various accidents. But his fondest moment in the light of day or dark of night was unexpected child birth. Holding a newborn baby in his calm and gentle strength.
Grizz was a proud member of the Zionsville Jaycees, where he received the Town Cryer Award. As well as being recognized by the American Red Cross for rescuing a construction worker that was buried by a cave in.
Grizz was a devoted father to his daughters, Lana and Lisa, and his step children, Tricia and Rob. He taught them how to drive, spent countless hours doing homework, and attended many school functions. He attended spring school choir performances more times than he would’ve liked, but never complained. He loved his life, his family, and his God. His most enjoyed church service was held in the middle of the ocean on the fan tail of his Navy Ship; The Fort Mandan.
As the years went on, he began to fade into the fog of dementia and Alzheimers. He enjoyed sitting on the enclosed front porch watching the world come and go. He spent many good times with his faithful friend Roy King, who visited him and recounted many stores of the town and friends. This cruel fate took away the sweet man we all know and love, but it will never take away the giant of a man who has given so much to so many.
Grizz is survived by his devoted wife, Ruthann Grizzle; daughters, Lana (Kelly Franklin) Gersich and Lisa (John) Marosky; grandchildren, Sara (Greg) Agee, Mikayla (Stephen Thomson) Sanders, and Marisa King; great-granddaughter, Emma Lynn Thomson; brother, Glen (Phyllis) Grizzle; sister, Bonnie (Jim) McAdams; former wife, Sharlene Grizzle.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Charles and Mary; his brothers, Bill and Stanley, and his step daughter, Tricia Sanders-King.
Visitation will be held at Zionsville Christian Church, 120 N. 9th Street, on Thursday, May 3, 2018 from 4:00 P.M. – 8:00 P.M. Services will be at the church Friday, May 4, 2018 at 11:00 A.M. with burial following at Zionsville Cemetery. To leave an online condolence please visit www.simplicityfuneralandcremationcare.com. Arrangements have been entrusted to Simplicity Funeral and Cremation Care.
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