Family Login:


Share This Obituary

Arrangements made by

Smart Cremation

1900 St. James Place; Suite 300
Houston, TX 77056
Get Directions

Profile of Smart Cremation

Email Us



Memories & Candles

“I love you. A natural mentor among men. ”
1 of 9 | Posted by: Joseph McCluskey - BOULDER, CO

“Dan was truer to himself than almost any human I've ever known. I skied with him and loved our conversations. Still reflect on them. When I saw him...Read More »
2 of 9 | Posted by: Rose Paparich-Kalamarides - WA

“The last time I was on a ski hill was with Dan. Very patient ski buddy, We must have been quite a sight, Dan 6'5 and me 5'6. Him swooshing, me ...Read More »
3 of 9 | Posted by: Craig Christopher - Northport, WA

“With heartfelt sympathy to the family and friends of Danny. I remember you well in Ketchum during grade school. We weren't the best of friends but I...Read More »
4 of 9 | Posted by: Richard Scarborough - Ammon, ID

“Eternal love Brotherman,shama Isreal ”
5 of 9 | Posted by: Barbara Zelmer - California, CA

“Peace to the family during this time of grief, rip, dan, ”
6 of 9 | Posted by: Kathy & dan Ducote &wilcox - WA

“Dearest ones, Meeting Daniel James Gruener was an honor!!! He was always kind to me and enjoyable to be around. We are saddened by his passing and...Read More »
7 of 9 | Posted by: Thoughtful Israel - Arlington, WA

“Whatever exploits Danny was up to, it would never surprise me. There was only one Danny Gruener. Goodbye my dear old friend.... ”
8 of 9 | Posted by: Denny Miller - Vista, CA

“About fifteen years ago we were talking on motherload and I was telling about sailing a 470 in Greece. He mentioned that he had a 470 and in the end...Read More »
9 of 9 | Posted by: Robert Barnstone - Newtown, WA


Daniel James Gruener, of Northport Washington, died surrounded by family on Sunday, March 03, 2019 at Mount Carmel Hospital in Colville, Washington. He was 73 years old and had been diagnosed with cancer a few weeks prior.

Daniel was born on July 20, 1945 in Chardon, Ohio, to the late Elizabeth Posey (Bailey) Gruener and the late Theodore Gruener. Daniel went to elementary school in Ketchum, Idaho, attended boarding school at the Randell School in Denver, Colorado, graduated from Borah High School in Boise in 1963, and attended Boise State University and UC Berkeley. He served as an Air Force mechanic during the Vietnam War, stationed in Illinois. In 1971, he married Vicki Stewart in Ketchum, Idaho. They had a daughter together, Joy, and divorced in 1973. He had three significant relationships after that, with Judy Cook (mother of his daughters Penny and Posey), Nanci Mitchell (mother of his son Saul), and - his longest relationship, lasting more than two decades - with Debbie Becker (mother of his stepson Jake).

Dan had many homes, and many hometowns. He lived on a hay farm in Ohio in the 40s, in a ski town in Idaho in the 50s, on Haight-Ashbury in the late 60s, on a homestead in Alaska in the early 70s, in a commune called the Love Family in Washington State until the early 80s, on a sailboat in Mexico in the early 90s, and in a log cabin that he built himself in the woods of Northeastern Washington in the 2000s. In the 2010s, he mostly lived on the ski hill.

Dan was the kind of guy who got your attention. First, he was huge. He was six feet five inches tall. His voice was a deep baritone boom. He sang loud in church. He ate cereal out of mixing bowls. His hands were so big that he couldn't type on a standard keyboard. They were so big, in fact, that someone once chased him down a street in Mexico yelling "Gros manos! Gros manos!"

He was intensely gregarious. He assumed everyone he met was a friend, and would strike up a conversation with anyone, anywhere, on whatever topic came to mind. (This was a source of great mortification for his children.) And he wasn't afraid to tell his loved ones how much they meant to him. He wouldn't just tell them "I love you," but instead "I love you desperately."

He had a taste for adventure (also: disregard for safety). He skied the trees. He sailed the open ocean. He drove cars way too fast. He rode motorcycles in sandals. If you spent any amount of time with him, he usually dragged you along for the ride.

He is hard to forget, and fun to remember. Even during his lifetime, Dan's friends and family would entertain themselves trying to one-up each other with their favorite (read: most outrageous) Danny Gruener stories. The time he and his '66 Ferrari led police in a 170mph car chase through eastern Oregon. (He insists a friend was driving. Contemporary police reports disagree.) The time he took his kids to the community pool at their new suburb and dove in wearing his bikini underwear. (They fell off.) The time he tried to bring his dog onto the plane by pretending it was a hearing ear dog. (He got caught.) These are just a few.

Daniel was preceded in death by his parents Ted and Posey, by his sister Frederika "Rikka" Dryer and by her children Elizabeth "Bunny" Dryer and Babette "Boo" Chumita. He is survived by his daughters Joy Smith Dobson, Penny Fay Carothers, and Elizabeth Posey Gruener; by his son Saul Gruener; and by his stepson Jake Tempel. He is survived by his grandchildren Megan, Madison, Quinn, Spencer, and Oza. He is also survived by his nephew Frank Dryer and his niece Jody Gruener.

A memorial service for Dan's ski buddies will take place at the base lodge at Red Mountain Resort, 4300 Red Mountain Road, Rossland, BC CANADA, on Thursday April 4th at 3:30pm.

A celebration of life will take place on Dan's birthday, Saturday July 20, 2019, in Northport Washington. Bring your best Danny Gruener stories.