ELLSWORTH – Walter J. Grenier Sr., 94, died Feb. 12, 2012 at his residence. He was born Oct. 31, 1917, in Bordeaux, France, son of Jean Paul and Henriette (Robert) Grenier.
Walter was educated in France, Belgium and England.
He attended Ravenscroft School, England and graduated from Belgium University before coming to the U.S. at age 17. He graduated from Army Air Force Training Center of Albany, Ga., in 1942. He was a first lieutenant in the Army Air Corps during World War II. He was a B-17 pilot, 100th Bomb Group and was shot down over Germany, Sept. 7, 1943, captured and imprisoned near Stuttgart. He was a POW for two years and later received a special commendation from the war department for his continuous effort toward maintaining the morale and health of his fellow prisoners. He later attained the rank of captain in the Army Reserves. After returning from the war, Walter continued his education and received a Bachelor of Science in philosophy at Southern Illinois University; masters in psychology, industrial relations and social administration; and his doctorate in psychology from Loyola University of Chicago. In 1959, Walter was executive director of Lawrence Hall, a home for boys from 6 to 16; he was "father" to 83 boys.
In 1962, he was appointed superintendent of Illinois Youth Commissioner’s Reception and Diagnostic Center by Gov. Kerner. In 1964, Walter received commendation for important and valued public service as special examiner for the civil service commission of Cook County, Ill. and in 1968 he was appointed deputy director for Florida’s training school in Tallahassee and was professor at Sangamon State University. In 1988, he was appointed executive director for Council on Aging, Flagler City, Fla. Walter moved to Maine in 2002 and especially enjoyed tennis, French cooking, reading, gardening, nature, biking and sailing.
He is survived by his beloved wife, Donna Grenier of Ellsworth; son, Walter Grenier II and his wife, Mary, of Lamoine; grandchildren, Jean Christian Grenier and his wife, Lorena, Nicole Tussing and Andre Robert Grenier; and great-grandchildren, Charles, Breeze, Zachary, Gabriel and Alex Grenier. He was predeceased by three sisters, May, Mathe and Jeannine; son, Guy Charles; and his first wife, Lorraine (Spruth) Grenier.
Friends are invited to visit with Walter’s family 5-7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 15, at Jordan-Fernald, 113 Franklin St., Ellsworth. A memorial Mass will be held 11 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 16, at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 131 Main St., Ellsworth. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the charity of one’s choice. Condolences may be made to