Mike Gretz Cancer Fund

For: Mike and Doris Gretz
Apple Valley, MN
Organizer: Stephen Black
Mike Gretz Cancer Fund (Mike and Doris Gretz)
of $50,000 goal
17% Complete
Raised by 90 donors
This fundraiser is closed. Thank you for your support!

The Story

We are saddened to report that long time President of the Air Power Museum Inc.  (APM) Mike Gretz has “Gone West” after a short illness.

If you have visited Antique Airfield or attended the AAA/APM Invitational Fly-in over the last two decades you have no doubt seen and benefitted from the vision, planning and efforts of Mike, his wife Doris and many other of his family members.

For but a few examples;

Mike was instrumental in the planning, fundraising & construction of the APM Restoration Center.

His vision & knowledge of aviation history helped in the decision and planning of the themes and featured aircraft at every AAA/APM Fly-in since 2002.

He took charge of making certain the APM side of the AAA/APM Fly-in operated, was staffed (by volunteers) and ran smoothly. Those efforts included designing the Fly-in T-shirts, taking care of the Fly-in vendors, helping plan & coordinate the nightly movies at the Runway Cinema, scheduled & coordinated various Type club and AAA Chapter meetings in APM facilities, and along with his wife Doris, stocked and operated the APM Gift Shop among many, many other efforts.

Mike along with APM Secretary Steve Black originally proposed and helped coordinate the highly successful 2015 APM Capital Campaign Fund via GoFundMe.

But perhaps most notable was his dedication to the APM “Library of Flight”. Mike was instrumental & untiring in his efforts to improve the Library, helping make it known nationally as one of the premiere facilities/repositories for aviation history and research.

Mike also leaves a legacy of works not only here at Antique Airfield but in the model airplane world (he was inducted into the AMA Hall of Fame in 2007) and the shooting sports circles (NRA Range Safety Officer, Iowa DNR Shotgun Coach etc.). He gave of himself selflessly to all of these causes and more.

But now we need to ask all who’ve benefitted from Mike’s efforts to help give back to Mike’s family.

As so often happens, Mike’s passing has not only left a collective emptiness with his family and friends but also extensive medical bills that will need to be addressed by Doris & the family. We’ll let Mike’s son Dave (Maj. USAF ret.) explain;

Mike Gretz a beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, and friend made a career of designing, building, and flying model airplanes and teaching his skills to others. He loved fishing, trap shooting, aeronautical history, and spending time with his family - especially his four grandchildren. He was a great and influential teacher who touched the lives of many.

On 11 December 2015, Mike was diagnosed with a large brain tumor requiring surgery. His son and daughter-in-law brought him from Iowa to Minneapolis for care - nearer to his family support network.

In his first two weeks at Abbott Northwestern Hospital, he endured four brain surgeries to drain fluid build-up and remove as much of the tumor as could be safely removed. On Christmas day, he received the devastating diagnosis of brain cancer. Specifically, a Grade IV Glioblastoma brain tumor, which is a very aggressive cancer tumor. It was located near the thalamus and brain stem, a critical hub of the brain.

However, while preparing for radiation treatment, it was determined that the tumor had already shown aggressive growth in the week after surgery. His physical condition also started to deteriorate during this time. Radiation at this point would significantly reduce his quality of life and potentially be fatal due to brain swelling while providing little benefit to restrain the growing tumor. Mike and his family made the difficult decision to not proceed with the cancer treatment. In 3 weeks, Mike and his family had gone from high hopes and expectations of some level of recovery to planning his move into Hospice care to maintain comfort for his last days.

Mike passed away on Friday Jan 15th surrounded by his loving family. His faith had been strengthened through his trial and experience. God has shown His righteous hand and continues to sustain Mike, his family, and his friends. We are comforted in our knowledge of where he is, wrapped in the loving arms of our Savior. Families can be together forever . . . that is our faith and our hope as we feel the grace, peace, and comforting love of our Heavenly Father.

In addition to the physical and emotional toll caused by cancer and time in the hospital/hospice, Mike's family will also face financial burdens.  Mike's wife, Doris, is just finishing her recovery from surgeries to cure her melanoma cancer. She is also a breast cancer survivor. They continue to pay medical bills from previous problems. We are setting up this account as a way for friends and family to show their love and support for this hard working and incredible family who has touched so many lives and who means everything to us.  No donation is too small. Together we can provide tremendous financial relief.

So there you have it. We hope all those who have benefitted from Mike & Doris’s efforts to “pay it forward” here at Antique Airfield through the years; will help the Gretz family with a contribution.

For those that prefer to send a contribution via regular mail, checks can be made out to "Doris Gretz" 15941 Elmwood Way, Apple Valley, MN  55124


Brent Taylor                                       Stephen Black

President AAA                                  Secretary APM

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on June 20, 2016

Posted on June 20, 2016

From Brent and myself we'd like to thank you for getting involved and making a difference. Few in life do.

Yesterday as my kids stopped by and wished me a happy father's day my mind turned back to Mike and his family. A father, a husband, a friend..........taken away much too soon. 

Mike was one of those rare individuals who made a difference. Where most stay on the sidelines or talked about what "They" should do, Mike got involved. Mike knew there was no "They" only "Us".  By his example we can all learn from him.

For those of us that knew him and countless more that maybe can't remember his name we were all impacted. That young face flying a control line plane for the first time now flying for the airlines or maybe is an engineer. That individual that went to a fly-in for the first time and is now pursuing a life long passion. Learning to master the art of model building or helping that young face that was struggling to use a firearm.  

For me personally, Mike partnered with and assumed the risks involved in creating a new nonprofit. A future that is uncertain and a path that is undoubtedly hard. A not for profit that if successful will remember a piece of history and honor veterans.  There is a lesson here if you choose to take it to heart. It's about getting involved, taking risks and taking action whether successful or not. From failure we develop the skills to pick ourselves up, learn what went wrong and try again. 

As for Mike, he is on a new venture. So, it's not goodbye as we close this page but "Until we meet again!". 

Signing off


Posted on June 15, 2016

Posted on June 15, 2016

Per Mike's wife Doris I will be closing this fund raiser on Monday. If anyone has not or would like to contribute to help Doris out please don't delay and take action today or as soon as possible. I just returned from a space themed function and found myself thinking of Mike. He would have been like a kid in a candy store meeting his heroes and listening to presentations that gave a much richer background into spaceflight then most have. I like to think he was shadowing me during this trip. I surely miss him and am frequently reminded as we had many of the same interests. God speed Mike..............

Posted on April 4, 2016

Posted on April 4, 2016

By now the April copy of "Model Aviation" news should have hit your mailboxes.  I hope you have seen the articles about Mike on pages 13 and 139. I have a small favor to ask each of you today.  Whether you have shared this post previously or not please share THIS post and add YOUR own memories of Mike. Regardless of your decision to contribute or not, I would hope each of you would at least contribute to repeatedly getting the message out so those who may have not have not seen it have an opportunity to become involved. If you are like me, I can't keep up with everyone's postings so it tends to be hit and miss.   

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