Brother John Grabo Enters Chapter Eternal

Brother John D. Grabo, 52, Beta Phi ’84, who had more than 30 years of experience as an economic developer and was a recognized leader among national economic development professionals, died Sept. 6, 2014 after a brief battle with acute leukemia.

He was described as “a big man with a big mind and big heart. Tough on the outside, he was a warm and affectionate man on the inside.”

A native of Chicago, Brother Grabo graduated with a business degree from the UA.

He was a member of the International Economic Development Council, Arizona Association for Economic Development and Solar Energy Association. In 1993, he joined the Greater Tucson Economic Council (GTEC) where he served as senior vice president, interim president and CEO.

For more than a decade, Brother Grabo was the director of business development for the University of Arizona Science and Technology Park (UA Tech Park). He helped to establish the Tech Park's Solar Zone and Global Advantage Program.

This past year he served as the chief executive officer of the Bloomington Normal Economic Development Council. He had recently accepted the position of economic development officer for the City of Sierra Vista. He disliked the weather in Illinois and missed Arizona.

Brother Grabo served on the Pima County Sports and Tourism Authority and the Arizona District Export Council.

He is survived by his wife, Kirsten, and two sons, Brayden and Beckett.

A memorial service will be Sept. 20, 2014 at 11 a.m. at Tanque Verde Lutheran Church. Donations in his memory can be made to an educational fund for his children at