Vail Daily obituary: August Grasis II |

Vail Daily obituary: August Grasis II

Special to the Daily
Vail, CO Colorado

August Grasis II of South Padre Island, Texas, and Vail departed this life at age 87 on Monday of congestive heart failure.

As husband, father, role model, leader, businessman, sailor, skier, swimmer and wine enthusiast, August was known for his love for life, his unconditional love for family and friends, his pragmatic, logical and fair business approach, and his dedication and willpower to be the best in whatever he chose to do.

August lived the American dream, building his life and his legacy in the USA after escaping Soviet-occupied Latvia in 1944. He married his sweetheart, Ruta, in 1950 and founded Grasis Corporation in 1964 to become America’s leading microwave tower company. Along the way, he and Ruta raised three children, won many sailboat races, competed in national skiing competitions and collected the finest Bordeaux. Post-retirement, he rekindled his love for automobiles by restoring and driving Studebakers, Jaguars, Porches and Lagondas in events all over the world.

While living in Vail, August and his wife, Ruta, were regular participants in the Colorado Grand, having completed it 15 times in their beloved black Jaguar XK140.

His countless Nastar gold medals in Vail races led to a fourth-place at the Nastar national competition when August was 50 years old.

In 1993, August, with the assistance of his best friend from Latvia, the famous architect Gunnar Birkerts, he designed and built one of Vail’s architectural treasures. Birkerts later used this design, replicated, but considerably larger, when he became the architect for the iconic Kemper Art Museum in Kansas City.

His smile, laugh and zest for life will always be missed by his bride and love of his life for 61 years, Ruta; his three children, Mara Grasis Garton (a long-time Vail resident with husband Tim Garton), August III and Nora Kristina Jenkins and their families, including 10 grandchildren and six great grandchildren; and his many friends he is leaving behind. He loved them all very much.

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