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David B. Grisso

David B. (Lindstrom) Grisso, age 62 of Howard Lake, died Friday, Feb. 24, 2006 at his home.

He was born Aug. 7, 1943 to Borghild (Anne) Andresen. David was raised by his stepfather, Dennis Lindstrom. His childhood was troubled and unhappy, and he was taken from the family home during his adolescence.

He was rescued from institutional life and placed in foster care with Mrs. Englund, who recognized David’s spark. He also spent some time in the Glen Lake Children’s Home and, when he became 16, he left without completing high school. He worked at various jobs in the metro area, rattled around California, and had some scrapes with the law.

Ultimately, David returned to Minneapolis. He married three times and fathered four children. He attended Brown Institute and graduated with a degree in radio broadcasting, and then worked in that field for a few years. During this time, David’s drug and alcohol use escalated and finally caused the breakup of his second marriage.

David sank into full blown alcoholism, and was, at one point, living under a bridge with all his belongings in a paper bag.

In the late 1960s, David was court-ordered to Eden Programs, a hard core treatment program, for six months. David’s story is interwoven with acts of redemption, either by others or by his own perseverance. His life and future were saved first by Mrs. Englund, second by the judge who sent him to Eden Programs, third by his own hard work, and fourth by the support of the guys from Eden Programs and the many friends he made there.

David believed strongly in unmonitored sober houses, self policed, and he started one after leaving Eden House, located in Minneapolis, in a duplex belonging to his uncle. There, his life went in three different directions simultaneously.

While attending a recovery group, his sponsor recommended service work and sent him to People Serving People (PLP), a homeless shelter, to volunteer on the frontlines of the consequences of drug and alcohol use. This grew into an almost full-time paid position through the mid 1990s, with David working 30-plus hours a week, Thursday night through Sunday morning.

David derived a lot of personal growth and satisfaction from his work at PLP. He always said that he ended up there honestly, through his own experience and the fact that his grandfather, Ole Olson, had founded and worked at the Gateway Gospel Mission on Hennepin Avenue during the Great Depression. Gateway’s mission was the homeless male alcoholic population who came for food and salvation . . . so the family legacy passed and the circle was completed with David’s work at PSP.

David met Nancy L. Newman July 1990 at a recovery weekend hosted by a friend. The couple started dating, and married March 15, 1994. The early years were somewhat rocky, but led into a happy and satisfying marriage for both.

The third piece of the puzzle was the arrival of a young man named Tom Thompson to the sober house. Also an alumnus of Eden Programs, he and David formed a friendship, and in the fall of 1991, they started what is now a successful painting contracting company, “A Fresh Look Inc.,” as partners. Tom and David pushed a Ford LTD through the snow on the day after the “Halloween Blizzard” to get to their client, who said, “if you can make it through that, you will be my painters for life.” This client is still with them, a testimony to their work ethic and service commitment.

During David and Tom’s friendship and subsequent partnership, they continued, on several occasions, to purchase sober houses, which they both felt established a solid foundation for recovery.

David was a large and vigorous man with the ability to focus, bear down, and work very hard. Sometimes brusque, he hid a marshmallow interior, and helped many.

During his tenure at PSP, David was diagnosed with Hepatitis C, survived two year-long treatments of Interferon, and was considered cured for five years. In November 2005, David was diagnosed with inoperable liver cancer as a result of his exposure to Hepatitis C.

David loved his children. He enjoyed hosting his friends and family at his lake home in Howard Lake, something he was very proud of. He was also proud of his business, proud and happy in his marriage, loved his brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, his six grandchildren, and his dog, Petey.

David knew that his life was based on the fact that without his sobriety, none of these things would have been possible. He believed that if he could get sober, anyone could, through the grace of God and a good solid recovery group. On his last sobriety date, David received a 17-year medallion. He considered these years a gift.

David’s final redemption came through is relationship with Jesus Christ. He had been attending membership classes at Delano United Methodist Church and was accepted into membership and introduced to the congregation in absentia two days after his death.

David had more friends than he knew. He will be greatly missed by his wife, Nancy L. Newman; children Kimberly Gallardo (Guillarmo), and Kari, Theodore, and Joshua Lindstrom; six grandchildren; siblings Duane (Sandy) Lindstrom, Daryl (Kathy) Lindstrom, and Denise McCarthy; uncle Ernie (Marianne) Andresen; aunt Alice Siefert; special friend and partner Tom Thompson and Susan, and by numerous nieces, nephews, relatives and friends.

Funeral services were Friday, March 3 at 10:30 a.m. at Hennepin Ave. United Methodist Church in Minneapolis, with the Rev. James Beard of Delano United Methodist Church officiating. Interment followed at Ft. Snelling National Cemetery.

Casket bearers were Duane Lindstrom, Andrew Lindstrom, Theodore Lindstrom, Daryl Lindstrom, Nick McCarthy, and Joshua Lindstrom. Honorary casket bearers were Tom Thompson and Jorge Medina.

Arrangements were by Albin Chapel in Minneapolis.

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