Les Griebling passes away at 78 after brief illness.
DUBLIN, Ohio, February 7, 2003 - Les Griebling, founder of Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, passed away Thursday afternoon in Manatee Memorial Hospital in Bradenton, Florida, following a brief illness. He was 78.
In 1961, Griebling designed, built and opened Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on rolling farmland near Lexington. He owned and operated the racetrack until selling to Jim Trueman in 1981. The Griebling family remains connected to Mid-Ohio today, as youngest son Tracy supervises the track maintenance department. Son Al retired in 2002 after a long career at the track, while Gary has spent countless hours in various capacities as well.
"The entire TrueSports family is saddened by the passing of Les Griebling," said Michelle Trueman Gajoch, President of TrueSports, Inc. and Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
"As a pioneer of road racing and founder of Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course his vision remains an inspiration to us all. His was a passion we remain committed to. Our deepest sympathy and prayers are extended to his family."
Though most often associated publicly with Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Griebling lived a remarkable life. Born June 16, 1924 in Lexington, Les caught the racing bug early, winning Mansfield's first Soap Box Derby in 1937. One of his first businesses, Les Griebling Garage, grew into Suburbanite Motors Foreign Car Dealership, which he owned for over 30 years.
His love for high speeds wasn't confined to sportscars. During World War II, Griebling was a pilot for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) in Cleveland, a forerunner to the current NASA program, where he tested experimental engines.
Les is survived by his wife, Ruth Ann Pittenger Neer Griebling, whom he married, April 16, 1985; his four sons and their wives, Gary Griebling of Mansfield, Doug and Susan Griebling of Pittsburgh, Alan and Sharon Griebling of Galion and Tracy and Jean Griebling of Lexington; two stepsons, Daniel Neer and Michael Neer, both of Galion; his stepdaughter and her husband, Kimberly and Walt Lindsey of Loudonville; his grandchildren, Lesley and Dan McKinney and Jessica Griebling, all of Pittsburgh, Dawn Griebling of Shamokin, Pennsylvania, and Collin Griebling of Lexington; his step-grandchildren, Stephanie Lindsey and Lauren Lindsey, both of Loudonville, and Dustin Neer and Danielle Neer, both of Bellville; his brother and his wife, Carroll and Faye Griebling of Lexington; and his sister-in-law, Helen Griebling of Columbia, South America. He was preceded in death by his parents, William and Viola Clever Griebling, and two brothers, George and Robert Griebling.
Memorial contributions may be made to:
The Building Fund of St. Paul Lutheran Church
48 Church St.
Bellville, OH 44813
Hospice of North Central Ohio
1605 County Road 1095
Ashland, OH 44805.