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In Memoriam: Michael Grivas, Sr.

mike-grivasThe tradeshow industry lost a great friend this week. Michael Grivas, Sr. of Vero Beach, Fla., died June 7.  He was 87.

Michael Grivas founded MG Design Associates in 1959 from his garage attic. Ahead of his time, he believed tradeshow exhibits would become an important marketing tool when few others did. During his career he saw his beliefs come to fruition, and celebrated MG Design Associates’ 50th anniversary this past year with its current president and his son Michael Grivas, Jr.

“Some of his oldest clients were his dearest friends,” said Betty Kasper who was hired at MG Design 35 years ago by Michael Grivas, Sr. “He had an incredible gift of meeting people, becoming your friend and staying your friend. No one could tell a joke like Michael Grivas.”

Kasper recalls one of Grivas’ long-time clients Wilson Jones and a long-standing bet they had. “If Wilson Jones won Best of Show, they would pay double or nothing.  With the challenge always on the table, Grivas made sure they won Best of Show several times but he never claimed his prize. That’s the kind of person he was.”

Grivas retired from MG Design Associates 21 years ago but Kasper shared, “Grivas was always a designer and always looking to help design a project that was coming up.” 

He was the son of Greek immigrants who raised a family in New York City. He worked as an industrial designer designing exhibits in New York City. In 1956, Grivas and his wife, along with their daughter, Paula, relocated from New York to Chicago. His passions were drawing, painting, playing tennis and, above all, his family. His sharp sense of wit and humor will be greatly missed.

Grivas was a member and past president of Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Ft. Pierce, Fla.

Beloved husband of Doris Grivas; loving father of Pamela (Edward) Conti, Paula (William) Shows and Michael (Christine) Grivas; dear grandfather “Nono” of Alex Goldstein, Sara (Thaxton) Peterson, Christopher (Sarah) and Jonathan Shows, Kristen, Courtney and Michael Grivas; Christopher, Carly and Juliana Otis; great grandfather “Nono” of Sydney Peterson; dear brother of the late Theodora (the late Kay) Poulos and Joanne (the late Edward) Hawthorne; loving uncle of Priscilla (John) Kelly and Kathy (Rick) Anton.

Funeral services were held June 11 at SS. Peter and Paul Greek Orthodox Church in Glenview, Ill. with interment at the Sacred Heart Cemetery in Northbrook, Ill.

In lieu of flowers, the Grivas family requests memorials be made to the American Cancer Society, 820 Davis Street, Suite 400, Evanston, IL 60201or the VNA Hospice, 1110 35th Lane, Vero Beach, FL 32960.

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