George Grigsby, the second-longest tenured superintendent in Neenah Joint School District history, passed away on Sunday, March 19 at the age of 89.
Grigsby served the District from 1975-92 and remained in Neenah following his retirement at the age of 64. He is one of only nine Neenah superintendents since 1903. He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Carolyn, and his three daughters, Carol, Susan and Jane.
The biggest trademark during Grigsby’s tenure was a reorganization of schools in 1982. Shattuck Junior High hosted students through grade 9 and Neenah High School was set up as a campus encompassing the Armstrong and Conant buildings. Horace Mann, then a junior high, was closed. In a May 9, 1992 Appleton Post-Crescent article summarizing his career, Grigsby called the reorganization both the high and low points of his career. The restructured District received nationwide recognition for its success, but also deeply divided the community.
Grigsby came to Neenah from Highland, Ind. where he was an assistant superintendent. He received bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of Indiana. Grigsby taught several years and worked as a principal at two schools in the Gary, Ind. School District.
While in Neenah, he served in leadership roles with the Neenah Rotary, Bergstrom-Mahler Museum, Valley VNA, Neenah Public Library, Neenah-Menasha YMCA, Neenah-Menasha United Way and First Presbyterian Church. His 17-plus years as Neenah superintendent were surpassed only by C.F. Hedges, who served 30 years from 1917-46.
“We never would have imagined we’d stay here until I retire,” Grigsby said in the Post-Crescent article. “But how could I look for something else when I have the best job in Wisconsin. I never would have wanted to leave. That’s how I feel about this community.”
A memorial service will be held on Friday, March 24 at 11 a.m. at First Presbyterian Church (200 Church St., Neenah). Friends will be received on Thursday from 4-7 p.m. at Westgor Funeral Home and on Friday from 10 a.m. at the church until the hour of the service.