Cover photo for John Charles Grabow's Obituary
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1956 John 2022

John Charles Grabow

April 6, 1956 — August 10, 2022

Sun Valley

John Charles Grabow died August 10 at home of a heart attack at the age of 66.

John grew up in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. His parents loved sports, and John and his sister grew up playing tennis and skiing. He graduated from Cranbrook High School in 1974, where he was involved with theater arts and tennis. In 1978, he graduated from the University of Michigan with high honors in political science. Combining theater and business during summers in college, he became one of the youngest theater managers in the country for the Nederlander Organization, and worked at numerous summer music venues including Merriweather Post Pavilion in Maryland.

After college he attended the University of Michigan Law School )UMLaw’81(. During his final year, he and his student litigation partner won the prestigious Henry Campbell Moot Court Competition, the oldest academic competition at the University. After law school, he joined and eventually became partner at the Washington D.C. law firm of Ginsburg Feldman and Bress, practicing in the areas of white-collar criminal defense, anti-trust, and international law. Later in life, he represented employee retirees in class action suits, preserving their 401k benefits in corporate bankruptcies.

Seeking new legal challenges, he became an Assistant Legal Counsel for the US Senate Legal Counsel Office.  His work at the Senate inspired him to write after work hours and publish a legal treatise: “The Law and Practice of Congressional Investigations.” Because of his legal acumen and experience, he became an adjunct professor at Georgetown Law School and taught an advanced seminar in Congressional Investigations, with famed Watergate Prosecutor Sam Dash.

In 1993, John and his wife Laura welcomed their son Charlie into their life. John was thrilled to have a son and delighted in showing him how to ski and play tennis. He was so proud of Charlie and was over joyed when Charlie and his tennis partner won the Idaho division 4 high school boys’ double tennis championship in 2010 and 2012.

The birth of his son caused John to re-assess his life. The beauty of the mountains of Idaho and the lure of pristine white snow compelled him to leave Washington DC. He and Laura began a real estate development business in Teton Valley Idaho, and over the next few years they combined their legal and business expertise to develop multiple properties. He also made it a point to ski over 100 days a year. Several times a year he would burst into the house after skiing and declare that he had the best day of skiing he ever had in his life. Yes, it got old, but it never ceased to be amusing.

In 1999 when it was time for Charlie to start school, the family moved to Sun Valley. With the Victor development work in the background, John actively pursued playwriting, receiving recognition in the Kennedy Center playwright competition and the Seven Devils Playwriting Conference in McCall. Several local theatre companies staged readings of his plays. He continued to ski all winter, play tennis throughout the year, and loved getting around town on his electric bicycle. John was devoted to his mother Connie Grabow, helping her live independently in her own home until she was over 100. Connie passed in June of this year at 101.

John and Laura traveled extensively throughout the world, and without question his favorite place to travel was southeast Asia, particularly the country of Laos. John loved the people and culture of Southeast Asia, especially the food, and traveled there often. In Laos he developed a relationship with a non-governmental organization known as Support the Lao Children where he and Laura have sponsored over 1500 children in several villages in the Mountains of Laos. John loved to combine cooking, eating, and political discussions. He read broadly and deeply, discussing literature and politics with his friends throughout the world.

John is survived by his wife of 39 years, Laura; his son Charles )Charlie(, Charles’s fiancé, Ashley Aker, his beloved granddaughter, Alena, all of Ketchum, Idaho; his sister, Marcia Grabow, and her husband, Thad Biggers of Salmon, Idaho; his niece, Sophia Coplin, of San Francisco, California; his sister-in-law Martha Marshall of Farmington Hills, Michigan; Jessie, the family Golden Retriever and Jack, her little 3 week old surprise puppy, along with a wonderful extended family of aunts, uncles, and numerous cousins.

John is predeceased by his parents, Connie and Leonard, and many beloved chocolate labs.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to The Spot ) or to an account at US Bank established to Support the Lao Children.

A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of John Charles Grabow, please visit our flower store.

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