JOHN AUGUST GRENZIG Jr.
June 30, 1863 — April 8, 1944
John August Grenzig, one of America's most noted mineral dealers, died on Sat., April 8, 1944, in his 80th year. Death was due to lobar pneumonia following two prostate gland operations at St. Mary's Hospital. Burial was in Mount Grace Evergreen Cemetery, Brooklyn. Services were conducted by Pastor Frederick B. Morley, of Woodhaven Methodist Church.
Mr. Grenzig was born in Berlin, Germany, on June 30, 1863, the son of Mr. and Mrs. August John Grenzig. At the age of 7 he accompanied his parents to America where they made their new home in Brooklyn, N. Y.
At the early age of 9, Mr. Grenzig became curious about and attracted to minerals and began to save every odd pebble that he found. His boyish minerals were nothing more than like any rock collection of any youngster of that age but like many another youngster it was not a passing fancy. He kept adding to and improving his collection as time went on so that in later years it was considered to rate among the first ten of the country. His collection of micromounts, about 1500 in all, was outstanding, too, for beauty and quality.
Mr. Grenzig was a graduate assayor of Cooper Union, New York City. But because he was very devoted to his parents, he would not accept positions in this field that invariably would have taken him out West. His mother lived to the ripe old age of 88 and his father died at the age of 76, rather prematurely as a result of an accident. By this time Mr. Grenzig was getting along in years himself and for that reason did not then follow up his profession.
Mr. Grenzig's business was that of an electrical contractor with office and shop at 299 Adams St., Brooklyn. His side line as a mineral dealer began many years ago in this way. Whenever any of his mineralogical friends dropped in at his office, he would always invite them to his home to see his collection and talk minerals. As the Grenzigs lived quite a ways out on Long Island (Brooklyn being at its western extremity), and his friends were generally short of time, very few could visit his home. So little by little he began to bring specimens to the office. The dealing part of it was the outgrowth of doing favors for his collector friends. "Could you get me some micro mount boxes or do you know where I could get this or that kind of a specimen?" Mr. Grenzig was rather an odd type of individual. Money seemed to be his last concern. If he could do some one a favor and make that person happy why he was paid in full. The result was that in later years his efforts to please collectors grew to such proportions that he often forgot his living was in the contracting business.
It may not be generally known that Mr. Grenzig was an authority on fluorescence. Long before this subject was commercialized, he practiced with it as a hobby and lectured on it. At his place of business he has had for years a darkroom wherein he had on display many fluorescent minerals and lamps of various wave lengths. To those who saw the display it was a thing of wonderment. In addition to the many fluorescent minerals on display, there were also pictures on which he had patiently pasted ground fluorescent minerals so that when the ultra violet light shown on them one would see green grass, various flowers blooming in a garden, a gravel path, and a light beaming from a window. A thing of beauty does not express it. It really was a wonderment of mineralogical art.
Mr. Grenzig took a great deal of delight in trying to interest the young folks in minerals. He often held meetings at his home for the public school and high school students in the hope of interesting them in the subject.
For years, one of the most faithful attendants at any mineralogical function held around New York City—be it field trip, club meeting, or exhibit—was Mr. Grenzig. No activity of any kind, it seemed, ever got under way until Mr. Grenzig made his appearance.
One of the happiest moments for Mr. and Mrs. Grenzig took place on April 13th, 1939, when they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. Their children gave them a blow-out at which were gathered some 120 members of the family, and friends from far and wide. As one member of the family recently put it; "It is not only a wonderful memory for mother but for us children as well. I never realized father had such a host of friends. I never saw such a display of flowers from all over the country. There was a continuous flow of messenger boys with telegrams and well wishes from the far corners of the country. It is really too bad that our Creator saw fit to take father away a few days before they would have celebrated their 55th anniversary. A family reunion was planned but it was not to be."
Mr. Grenzig was a member of many mineralogical clubs including the Rocks and Minerals Association.
Mr. Grenzig is survived by his wife, Mrs. Mary A. Grenzig, two sons, August John of Brooklyn, and William of Pittsburgh, Penn., seven grandchildren, and four great grandchildren. There was a daughter, Helena, who passed away Dec. 8, 1941. Mr. Grenzig had a sister, Helena, who died many years ago.
Mrs. Grenzig, and son, August J., are selling out Mr. Grenzig's stock of minerals.
Obituary written by Peter Zodac, Published in and Transcribed from Rocks and Minerals Magazine, May 1944 Issue, pg 142, by Ed Grenzig on 4/25/2004.
John is Ed’s Great Grandfather.