Granville Gude, 74, long-time Washington civic leader and owner of a downtown flower shop, died of heart failure yesterday at George Washington University Hospital.
Mr. Gude was the owner of Gude Brothers florists, a family business since 1899. The shop moved to 1510 H St. NW about 10 years ago after 55 years at 1212 F St. NW.
Mr. Gude was active in several civic and professional organizations. He was a former president of the Washington Board of Trade, potentate of the Adaras Temple of the Shrine, president of the Washinton Rotary Club and president of the National Society of American Florists.
A Washington native, Mr. Gude attended public schools here and the Strayer Business College.
A top flight oarsman in his school days, he was single-sculls champion of the Potomac for 16 years. In 1922, he went to Philadelphia and swept the single sculls competition on the Schuylill River, probably the top event in this division of the sport in the nation.%TAt age 20, at the Mid-Atlantic Rowing Association's regatta in Baltimore, Mr. Gude won the junior, intermediate and associated senior single scull events, each race a mile long.
Mr. Gude entered the family business in 1921 and became president of the firm in 1940. Popular in the business community, he was known as a man of few words whose public speaking was admired for its brevity.
In 1943, as president of the Board of Trade, he took up the task of defending the city against a charge by then-Bishop Edwin Holt Hughes that Washingtonians indulged in twice as much drinking as residents of any other city in American, and that this drinking had led to a crime wave.
Far from being plagued by crime, Mr. Gude noted, Washingtonians had demonstrated their worth by purchasing war bonds and contributing handsomely to civilian defense work and the Red Cross War Fund.
"Granny," as he was known, owned his civil interest to his father, William F. Gude, who was on every inaugural committee from Grover Cleveland's second to Franklin D. Roosevelt's.
He served on the vestry of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Rock Creek Parish, and as president of the Potomac Boat Club, the McKinley Tech Alumni Association, the Circle T Club and the Florists Transworld Delivery Association. For three years he was chairman of the National Flower and Garden Show here.
He received the University of Maryland Agricultural Award in 1965 and was elected to the Floriculture Hall of Fame in 1963, and was named man of the year by the Board of Trade in 1960.
Mr. Gude described farming as his avocation, and he lived with his family on a 500-acre farm in Laurel where many of the Gude flowers were grown. At one time there were 44,000 bushes of roses there.
In addition to his wife, Bessie, of the home, Mr. Gude is survived by two daughters. Elaine D. of College Park and Deborah Gude Lord of Greenwich, Conn., a son, William F. of Laurel and eight grandchildren.