Charles D. Grinnell, longtime District volunteer and civic activist, dies at 89

November 6, 2012

Charles D. Grinnell, 89, a longtime District volunteer and civic activist, died of kidney failure Oct. 12 at his home in Washington. The death was confirmed by a great-niece, Caitlin Werrell.

Mr. Grinnell was an advisory neighborhood commissioner in the 1970s and ’80s. He chaired the Committee of 100 on the Federal City, a nonprofit organization concerned with civic and planning issues, from 1983 to 1987. As chairman, he advocated the preservation and restoration of Glover-Archbold Park.

He volunteered and wrote the newsletter from 1988 to 1998 for what is now the Drug Policy Alliance.

Mr. Grinnell also received recognition for his volunteer work with various groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union and Americans for Democratic Action.

Charles David Grinnell was born in Dover, Mass. During World War II, he served in the European theater in the Army Air Forces. He received the Distinguished Flying Cross.

He was a founder and vice president of Universal Dynamics, a company that designed, manufactured and marketed machinery for the plastics industry. He worked there for 10 years before the company was sold in 1965.

His interests included tennis and sailing.

His marriage, to the former Alice “Tip” Manahan, ended in divorce. Survivors include a brother and a sister.

— Megan McDonough

Most Read Local