George Robert Grumbles, Sr. – Obituary

By  | March 6, 2014 | Filed under: Laughlin Service Funeral Home, Obituaries

georgeGeorge Robert Grumbles, Sr., 80, of Huntsville, former President and CEO of Motorola UDS, passed away surrounded by his family on March 4, 2014. George was born in Kansas City, Missouri on August 12, 1933. He attended Drury College, Emory University, and the University of Georgia. As a teenager, George enlisted in the National Guard. He was in the 5th Army, 35th Division, 110th Engineer Combat Battalion, Medical Detachment.

George’s career began when he was in graduate school, working for Ayerst Laboratories. After he married, George started helping with the family Funeral Home and Ambulance Service, and he taught chemistry for several years at Claxton (Georgia) High School and then at Limestone College in Gaffney, South Carolina.

In 1962, George moved with his family to Huntsville. He was a Manufacturers Rep during the Aerospace heyday and was at that time introduced to the new world of electronics. George transferred to the Boston area, working for Control Logic, Inc., as V.P. Marketing and Sales, for five years, and then moved back to Huntsville in 1973 joining Universal Data Systems, Inc., as V.P. Sales and Marketing. In 1986 he was elevated to President of UDS and served as an Appointed and then Elected V.P. of Motorola until 1994. His career in data communications spanned the life of the industry as it existed until his retirement in 1994.

George was a member of the Order of Masons, Rotary Club and Sigma Nu fraternity. He was a Governor appointee to the Alabama Humanities Foundation, served on the Board of Directors of the Huntsville Museum of Art, and was Chairman of Cummings Research Park Design Review Committee. George was an avid supporter of the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra, the Huntsville Museum of Art and the Huntsville/Madison County Botanical Gardens. George was also a member of the Sherlock Holmes Society.

George was preceded in death by his parents, Elbert Roland Grumbles and Fae Hunter Novatny, and his first wife of 29 years, Lenora Tillman Grumbles. He is survived by his second wife of 26 years, Judy Taylor Grumbles; his children, Lisa Grumbles Ordway (Fred), Lea Grumbles Steinberger (Rick), George Robert Grumbles Jr. (Sarah), Phillip L. Saunders (Jamie), Joseph C. Cosby Jr. (Amy), David T. Saunders, and Nikki Cosby Herring (Travis); 14 grandchildren, Tip Stewart Bartels (Eric), Danielle, Sarah Katherine and John Ordway, Darby Steinberger, Maddie and Silas Cosby, Jackson, Wylder and Winnie Herring, and Emily, Lauren, Abigail and Robbie Grumbles; and great-grandchildren, Emery and Chase Bartels. George loved his family and friends, a good glass of wine, great food, Sherlock Holmes, and the continued pursuit of knowledge. He had a great sense of humor, a smile for all he met and a mischievous twinkle in his eyes.

Funeral services will be held at 3:00 at First United Methodist Church on Friday, March 7. Visitation will begin at 2:00, with burial following the service at Maple Hill Cemetery. (

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra Association, PO Box 2400, Huntsville, AL 35804 or the Huntsville Public Library, PO Box 443, Huntsville, AL 35804.

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