Dennis William Grebner, FAIA, was born in Faribault, Minn., on Dec. 19, 1932. He lived in St. Anthony Park for many years. He died at Rochester Mayo on Dec. 16 after battling an aggressive form of acute myeloid leukemia.
He found a passion for architecture early in life. He graduated from the University of Minnesota with a bachelor’s degree in architecture in 1955 and continued onto Harvard Graduate School of Design on a full scholarship and received a master’s degree. He became a member of the American Institute of Architects, Twin Cities Chapter, and later held office. In 1988, he became a fellow of the American Institute of Architects, of which he was extremely proud.
Dennis was a professor at the University of Minnesota School of Architecture for 32 years. He helped with course revisions, development, curriculum design, as well as Extension classes for the U. While at the U, he taught in France with English architect Gordon Cullen and produced both academic and professional publications.
He was a guest lecturer for workshops in many locations, including Iowa State University College of Design, the American Institute of Architecture, the Walker Art Center, Rhode Island School of Design and MIT. He held many professional jobs, working a short time with Harry Weese in Chicago and with I.M. Pei in New York before he founded Community Planning and Design Associates in 1959. After the company dissolved, he opened Grebner Associates in 1978.
He received various awards, including the MSA/AIA Design Award and National Schools Design Award, for his progressive architecture on projects such as the Control Data headquarters in Bloomington, Adams Elementary School in St. Paul and West Saint Paul’s shopping center.
After his retirement from the U, he and his wife moved to their farm in the Maiden Rock Township in Wisconsin. He saw that his yard was manicured and his vegetable garden was planted. He found joy in many things: classical music, reading, traveling, gardening, woodworking, drawing, water coloring and volunteering for the Habitat for Humanity in St. Paul and Guatemala. He dedicated much of his time to these passions.
Dennis is survived by his wife, Mary Jane; sons, Kurt, Erich and Peter; daughter, Michelle; daughter-in-law, Karyn; and five grandchildren, Bryan, Greg, Jeffrey, Wil and Britta.