Obituary for Wayne Grandcolas
Wayne E. Grandcolas, 85 of Kirkwood, went to be with the Lord Sunday, July 30, 2017. Beloved husband of 63 years to Pat (Smith) Grandcolas, dear father to Laurie Kirk, Barb Halley, Bob (Cindy) Grandcolas, Sally (John) Beatty and Jennifer (Bryan) Rushing; cherished grandfather to eight grandchildren, Sara (Chuck) McGuire, Jessica (Corey) Bowman, Leah Halley, Allison (Jim) Underwood, Matthew Kirk, Hannah, Joshua and Jacob Rushing and four great-grandchildren, Austin, Colton, and Ethan Underwood and Adeline Bowman. Wayne was preceded in death by his parents Nick and Alma Grandcolas and beloved brother and best buddy, Al Grandcolas.
Wayne was born December 10, 1931 in Belleville, IL to Nick and Alma (Arbogast) Grandcolas. He graduated from Belleville Township High School and it was there he met his sweetheart Pat (Smith). Growing up, Wayne and his brother Al were outstanding baseball players. Their father Nick dubbed Wayne "the pitcher" and Al "the catcher". Together they were an unbeatable all-star battery. While in high school and playing American Legion Baseball for Belleville, their Post 58 Hilgard team earned top national honors in the finals of the American Legion World Series Championship. In addition to baseball, the importance of education and learning was instilled in Wayne by his mother, Alma. After graduating BTHS Wayne turned down a contract offer by the St. Louis Cardinals in favor of a baseball scholarship to Southern Illinois University Carbondale. While pitching for the Salukis, Wayne led the team in victories and innings pitched from 1951 - 1953 and threw a no-hitter against Arkansas State. He also showed his prowess offensively, leading the team in stolen bases. He recorded a career record of 23-7 with an ERA of 2.18, earning him a spot in the SIU-C Athletic Hall of Fame in 2009. Able to get permission from the NCAA, Wayne also played summer professional ball in Canada for three seasons, recording five consecutive shutouts for Oshawa, Ontario. Wayne graduated from Carbondale in 1954 with a degree in Industrial Arts, which later paved the way for his future successful career in business.
While at Carbondale, his high school sweetheart, Pat Smith, was never far from his mind and they married on November 26, 1953. They started their life, and a short time later - their family, together back in Belleville, and in 1954, Wayne was called to service for his country and began active duty in the United States Army in Ft. Chaffee, Arkansas. Wayne's service extended through the Army Reserves until he was honorably discharged in 1962.
Wayne enjoyed a successful career in business beginning with IBC Homes, where he was involved in home design and leading the growth of the company. After a brief move to San Francisco where Wayne helped build the firm's west coast presence, the family moved back to their lifelong home in Kirkwood in 1964 to raise their growing family. Wayne continued his career at County National Bank/Commerce Bank in Clayton and later with Construction Escrow Services, where he would become Chairman and owner. Wayne was active in many business and civic organizations, including Mortgage Bankers Association, and serving on the Board of Directors for Landmark, Magna and Regions Banks, as well as the Construction Industries Credit Bureau. Always one to share his success and pay-it-forward Wayne gave generously of both his time and resources supporting many organizations and causes.
The competitive spirit was always with Wayne and he loved the game of golf, playing many rounds with friends at Greenbriar Hills Country Club, where he served as Club President in 1982. He also had the honor to play notable courses, such as St. Andrews Scotland and one of his favorites, Pebble Beach. He worked hard to continually improve his game and his dedication paid him back with seven holes-in-one.
Wayne loved sharing his life experiences with friends and especially his family. He was known for his ability to recount every pitch of an old ball game, lessons learned from a favorite teacher or coach, as much as his fondness for creating new memories at Cardinal baseball games and on the beach at Longboat Key with family. But most of all, Wayne loved to tell stories, because every story and every person in that story truly meant something to him.
Though we say goodbye to an incredible father, grandfather, family member and friend we honor his love and enthusiasm for life. Enthusiasm comes from the Greek word enthous, which means possessed by God, inspired. A dedicated member of Kirkwood United Methodist Church for over 52 years, Wayne was passionate not only about the life God had given him, but always shared that enthusiasm with everyone in his life.
Services: Visitation at Bopp Chapel, Kirkwood, Thursday, August 3, 3 - 7p.m. Private family service burial at Valhalla Cemetery, Belleville, 11a.m. Friday, August 4. Memorial contributions may be sent in support to Alzheimer's Association or American Cancer Society.