Greg worked with Mitchell Johnson on Specialty Vehicles International from the start-up in 2010 until he died, providing daily guidance most every morning.
Greg passed away on January 17, 2021 at his home in Roseau, Minnesota at the age of 70. Arlene, his wife, compassionately cared for him throughout his decline until his death.
Greg is survived by his wife, Arlene, daughters Erin Grahn (Eric Straus), Dana (Brian) Kloeppner, and Charlene (CJ), sister, Debbie (Jim) Groves, granddaughter, Cadence Kloeppner, nephew Ben Groves, and nieces Brita (Groves) Kimble, Olivia, and Katelynn Groves.
Greg’s long and varied work life began when he landed his first job at the age of five at his father’s business, OK Machine Company. He was paid $.05 per day to sweep the floor and $.25 on Saturdays to clean the bathrooms and wash windows.
From the ages of 15-20, he raced snowmobiles for Polaris and was on the Polaris professional race team at the pinnacle of that sport. At the age of just 19, he won the big 800cc class at Kings Castle in Reno, Nevada, and was awarded a huge paycheck. But a competitor found out about his age and protested so bitterly, that the race official rescinded the win and reclaimed the check just a week later. The President of Polaris at the time, Allan Hetteen thought that was unfair. After all, a young Greg Grahn stepped up to the best of the best racers in the world and fairly came out on top of all of them. So Hetteen issued another check for the same amount to the young Polaris racing star. Greg used the money from all his various racing success as a down payment on his farm.
Greg was driven by his curious nature and sense of adventure. He performed aerial aerobatics and air shows with his father for many years. Greg had an entrepreneurial spirit. He worked in and started several businesses, often at the same time. He and several others left Polaris in 1971 and formed Brutanza Engineering in Brooten, Minnesota to build the Brut snowmobile. Brutanza was later sold to Scorpion in 1974.
In 1974 Greg started Brooten Fabricating, later Farmstar, a company which built grain bodies for trucks, irrigation equipment and manure spreading equipment. In 1981, he sold the business and moved back to Roseau to farm.
In 1999 Greg started North American Nutrition, growing, processing and selling Nature’s Gem Premium Golden Flaxseed. When he married Arlene, she became an active partner in the business.
Greg worked with Mitchell Johnson on Specialty Vehicles International from 2012 until he died, providing daily guidance most every morning.
All of us here at SVI will miss Greg nearly as much as his wife Arlene. And his daughters Erin, Dana and Charlene will miss him. We all will miss him.
Thank you, Greg, we are all fortunate to have known you!