Remembering longtime Champlin businessman — Walter Griese

Walter Griese
Walter Griese

Walter Griese, age 81, died on Friday, Oct. 26, 2012, at the Lake Ridge Care Center of Buffalo. Visitation will be Friday, Nov. 2, from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM at Peterson-Grimsmo Chapel, 250 E. Broadway, Monticello. Funeral service will be Saturday, Nov. 3, 1 p.m. at St. Peter’s Ev. Lutheran Church, 413-3rd St. E., Monticello with Rev. Darren Green officiating. Interment will be at Ft. Snelling National Cemetery of Minneapolis. Funeral arrangements are with the Peterson-Grimsmo Chapel of Monticello.

Walt was born on May 9, 1931, in Waltham, Minn. to Carl and Amanda (Gade) Griese. He married Audrey Bueck on May 1, 1953, in Minneapolis. He enjoyed fishing, camping, watching old westerns, bowling, and socializing with people. After high school he joined the US Air Force, and he was stationed in Rapid City where he met Audrey through a mutual friend. After serving in the USAF, he returned to Minnesota and attended technical school for printing and had a short career in that field. He found his love for sales when he went to work for Singer selling sewing machines. After working for several companies in sewing machine sales, in 1978 he started A-1 Sew Craft, a retail sewing and vacuum cleaner store in Champlin.

Over the years he built a reputation as “the world’s most accommodating dealer”, along with having a friendly personality and always wanting to give his customer the best deal. He worked at his store until three weeks prior to his death. Over the years Walt and Audrey took many trips and cruises all over the world with other dealers as a result of promotions he earned from selling sewing machines. One highlight was a trip to Alaska in 2005, fishing and site-seeing with his son-in-law and grandson. He was very proud of the 52-pound King Salmon he caught on the trip. He was an avid bowler and spent many years in league bowling, sometimes traveling to tournaments and teaching his hobby to his grandkids. Besides visiting with customers for hours at his store, he loved family reunions for both sides of his family. Just give him the destination of a family gathering and he and Audrey would be on the road driving to the event.

He was preceded in death by his parents; brother Lawrence; sister Mae; and grandsons Benjamin and Michael. Walt is survived by his wife Audrey of Big Lake, MN; daughter Linda (Ben) of Elk River, MN; son Allan (Aida) Griese of Clearwater, FL; five grandchildren ; 2 great grandchildren; brother Leonard (Terri) Griese; sisters Ruth Houff, Betty Borotz, June (Donald) Hafften, Verna Hafften; many nephews and nieces; along with his loyal employees and the hundreds of A-1 Sew Craft customers.