Elder Grifton Glenn Jr., patriarch of a family that built, acquired and operated 17 Ace Hardware locations in Chattanooga, North Georgia and Knoxville, died Friday at his home. He was 86.
Nicknamed "Uncle Bub" by his friends and family, Glenn helped build the company into a regional powerhouse and one of the top 10 groups of Ace stores nationwide.
He served as president of the Southern Retail Hardware Association and was a member of the national board of directors of Ace Hardware Corp. He sat on the board of the Bank of Chickamauga until it was sold.
Glenn co-founded Ace Hardware of Chattanooga on Highway 58 in 1969 using 16 years of experience gained by working at the family hardware business in Chickamauga.
He leveraged his business acumen and hardware roots in other parts of his life, finding ways to help churches and charities better serve the community. Glenn bought hardware and sold it at cost to the Salvation Army, where he served on the advisory board, to help with local building projects, said Kimberly George, spokeswoman for the nonprofit organization.
"He worked hard, any time the Salvation Army had a need, to try to find where we could meet that need," George said. "He was a wonderful servant and a great friend of the local Salvation Army."
At Brainerd Baptist, where Glenn served as a deacon, he led the church's finance committee as chairman, church administrator Todd Wood said. Glenn also served on the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary Foundation Board.
"He was fair-minded and took a conservative approach, but at the same time knew that we were a church and the ministries of the church were a priority," Wood said. "We're fortunate in that we're a growing church, and we do have folks who will come along to fill that role, but you can't replace a man like Elder Glenn. He was a very sweet gentleman, and we're going to miss him very much."
His sons, Tom Glenn and Grif Glenn, have continued to helm the company their father founded.
The funeral service will be held at Brainerd Baptist Church on Tuesday, with visitation at 10 a.m. and the service at 11 a.m.
Burial will follow in Chickamauga City Cemetery.
Contact staff writer Ellis Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6315.