John Grenier

From Bhamwiki
Jump to: navigation, search
John Grenier in 1964

John Edward Grenier (born August 24, 1930 in New Orleans, Louisiana; died November 6, 2007 in Houston, Texas) was an attorney, former chairman of the Alabama Republican Party, and advisor to Governor Guy Hunt.

Grenier, the son of banker Charles Grenier Jr and the former Beatrice Schaumburg, grew up in New Orleans and graduated from Jesuit High School there. He earned his undergraduate and law degrees at Tulane University, graduating in 1953. After college he joined the U.S. Marine Corps and served as a pilot in the Checkerboard Squadron (VMF 312) during the Korean War. He was discharged as a Captain and then went to New York University to complete law school.

Grenier completed his studies at New York University where he completed an LL.M. in taxation. He married the former Lynne Youmans and practiced law in New York for a while before moving to Birmingham for a job with Southern Natural Gas Company. The couple had one son, John Beaulieu ("Beau") Grenier, who was born in 1956. Grenier later joined the firm of Bradley Arant Rose & White.

Grenier chaired the Jefferson County Young Republicans in 1960 and organized a local rally for vice president Richard Nixon, who lost in the presidential election to Democrat John Kennedy. He moved on to chair the Alabama Young Republicans in 1961, and then was elected Chairman of the Alabama Republican Party in 1963.

From there Grenier was named deputy chair of the Republican National Committee and the Southern regional campaign director for Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater. He was a key figure in the development of the GOP's so-called "Southern Strategy" by which the party cultivated support from white Southerners who objected to the Democratic National Committee's growing civil rights platform and generally opposed federal programs as injurious to their conception of "states' rights".

As part of that 1964 general election, Grenier recruited Republican candidates who captured five of Alabama's eight congressional seats over Democratic incumbents. He was subsequently named executive director of the Republican National Committee, but resigned in December to support the position of party chair Dean Burch.

Grenier ran for U.S. Senate in 1966, losing to incumbent John Sparkman. Grenier, who had become a partner at Bradley Arant, left for Lange, Simpson, Robinson & Somerville in the late 1960s. He remained there for 35 years before retiring in 2004. He and Lynne divorced in 1983.

In the 1986 election, Grenier advised Republican gubernatorial candidate Guy Hunt to "lie low" while Democratic candidates Bill Baxley and Charlie Graddick criticized each other. Hunt won the office and installed Grenier as an aide.

Grenier married the former Stella Kontos in 1991. Grenier died of complications from lung cancer at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas in November 2007, and was interred at Elmwood Cemetery. He was survived by his second wife, Stella, his son, Beau, and four grandchildren.

References

  • "Grenier Said to Quit National G.O.P. Post" (December 6, 1964) The New York Times, p. 32
  • Dean, Charles J. & Tom Gordon (November 8, 2007) "John Grenier, Birmingham lawyer, state GOP pioneer, dies at 77." The Birmingham News
  • "John Edward Grenier" obituary. (November 8, 2007) The Birmingham News
  • Hevesi, John (November 10, 2007) "John E. Grenier, 77, a Leader of Goldwater’s ’64 Bid, Is Dead." The New York Times