Thomas E. Gruhl, 80

Thomas E. Gruhl of Zionsville, and Sanibel Island, Fla., died unexpectedly on June 8, 2015, at the age of 80.
If you look up the term community leader in the dictionary, you will see a photo of Tom Gruhl — he lived everyday as a leader, activist, philanthropist and truly made a difference in the lives of many people.

Born in Hope, Ind., the only child of Pearletta Gruhl Hitchell, Tom graduated from Hope High School, Franklin College and the Banking College at the University of Wisconsin. He served in the U.S. Army for two years, and was blessed to receive the GI Bill.

In 1960, he was accepted into the Management Training Program for Merchants National Bank, which began his 32 year career with the Frenzel family and brought him to Zionsville as president of Farmers State Bank, which became Mid State Bank, then Merchants, National City and is now PNC Bank. When asked about his career, he always said, “Banking allowed me to meet and help many people and it was so satisfying.” He took a little country bank, and under his leadership it grew to nine branches with 112 million in assets and 60 employees.

During those 32 years in Zionsville, Tom was a pillar in the community, active in many organizations including Zionsville Lions Club, both Zionsville and Boone County chambers of commerce, the Zionsville Water Corporation, Capital Facilities Plan Steering Committee, Board of Zoning Appeals, Zion Aqua and 23 years as a volunteer on the Zionsville Fire Department.

When he retired from banking in 1992, he took on probably the greatest challenge of his life, and was primarily responsible for founding the Community Foundation of Boone County, where he remained as chairman of the board for many years. In 23 years the foundation’s assets have grown to 21.4 million dollars; Tom was very proud of that accomplishment.

In lieu of flowers, the family would be thrilled if you would choose to make a contribution to the THOMAS E. GRUHL SCHOLARSHIP FUND at the Community Foundation of Boone County, 102 N. Lebanon St., Lebanon, IN 46052.

While Tom never had a lot of hobbies, he was passionate about travel and he and his wife, Kathleen, visited 88 countries and took 30+ cruises during the last 33 years.

He is survived by his wife, Kathleen McClanahan-Gruhl; daughters, Carmen (Jeff) Ton and Tami Bursch; and his grandchildren, Alexandra and Nicholas Bursch.

Visitation will be 2 to 8 p.m. Friday, June 12, at Leppert Mortuary, 900 N. Rangeline Road, Carmel. The celebration of life service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 13, at the mortuary, with Dr. T. Garrott Benjamin officiating. Arrangements have been entrusted to Wilson St. Pierre Funeral Service & Crematory, Indianapolis.

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