James E. Gruetzke

Passed Away August 18, 2019

image of James E. Gruetzke

James E. Gruetzke

Jim was born in Portland, Oregon to Winnifred and Harry A. Gruetzke on December 21, 1943.  He is survived by his wife, Donna Gruetzke, his sister Janis Gruetzke, his son Aron Gruetzke, and nine grandchildren.   He was predeceased by a brother, Kenneth Gruetzke.

Jim graduated from Vestal Grade School, Madison High School, and the University of Portland.  He spent 2 image of James E. Gruetzke in Navyyears in the Navy Seabees stationed in Alaska and Japan.  He married his high school sweetheart Valerie Barnes and had one son, Aron.  They divorced 21 years later.  In 1993 he met and married Donna McCarthy.

Over his lifetime he had several careers but retired as Operations Commander from the Gresham Police Department in 1989.  He commanded and trained the S.W.A.T. team there and attended the F.B.I. Academy in Quantico, Virginia.  He then went into Telecommunications as a self-employed long-distance network designer, owned and operated an Internet company, and ran a Telecommunications consulting business.  During his law enforcement career, he also owned a business making and selling ivory and rosewood pistol grips for unique hand guns.

Since his retirement, Jim and Donna have travelled extensively, bought a second home in Chandler, Arizona and spent many joyful hours with friends there.

Jim loved cars and had several.  He and his friend, Al, built a custom 1939 Chevrolet Coupe hot rod.  He belonged to the VIP Car Club and traveled with them to many car shows picking up many trophies for his classic car.

Jim was a people person and loved regaling his friends with stories from his past escapades and varied careers.  He was loved by his family and friends and his smiling face and quick wit will be sorely missed.


October 4, 2019    10:00 a.m.
Willamette National Cemetery
11800 SE Mt Scott Blvd.
Happy Valley, Oregon 97086


Celebration of Life 11:30 a.m.
Fairway Village Clubhouse
15509 SE Fernwood Drive
Vancouver, WA 98683



4 Responses to “James E. Gruetzke”

  • Rollin Hayslip says:

    Jim was a great friend and will be missed by many.
    We first knew each other through our mutual love of cars. It was a very sad day when he left us behind, but we know he’s in a much better place now in the company of our Lord in Heaven.

    God Bless You Jim and your whole family as well.

  • Al Ballou says:

    Jim was a trooper, literally and figuratively. Although I only knew him briefly, I know he endured a lot of pain resulting from his service to others in his younger years. But unlike some, myself included, he didn’t let it bring him down. Now that he has graduated from the School of Life that pain is gone but, I believe, his service continues for the greater good beyond our earthly experience here, as will ours when we join him one day.

  • Jed lancaster says:

    Jim was my stepdad. He married my mother juliann on February 14 1987. We lived in boring oregon. I think he was my dads best friend.

    I was thinking about seeing how he was doing. I am sorry for the loss he was a good guy from what I can remember.

  • Nancy Clendenning McCowan says:

    Lt Gruetzke hired me in 1978 to be the Investigations secretary. Three years later I left to join the US Navy. I was stationed in Washington DC when he attended the FBI Academy in Quantico, VA (30 miles). He came up to Alexandria a couple of times for a reprieve from the rigors at Quantico. One of those times he went with me and a couple other navy buddies to the Army-Navy football game in Philadelphia. I think of him every December as the day of the Army-Navy game approaches (2nd Saturday of December). Thus why I today searched on his name and am sad to see he has passed away. He was too young. I was hoping to connect with him. 😢

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