Farewell: In Appreciation of His Vision

Saying farewell to Club 5's founder, Ed Grunewald

Six years ago I walked into Club 5 for the very first time. Nervously, I walked through the club and found a stool near the end of the bar. I sat taking in the people and surroundings and wondering if this is where I really fit in. Directly across from me, at the entrance to the bar, was a man not smiling much. He was taking in all that was happening, too. He glanced in my direction and I’m sure sensed my nervousness. He walked behind the bar, gave me another beer, smiled and told me to relax, it wasn’t all that bad. This was my first experience with Ed Grunewald.

One year later I started working for the man and learning all about that man at the end of the bar. Ed, although quiet to most, had strong convictions and beliefs on what he wanted from his club. He wanted a safe environment for the community to come and celebrate who they are. He always talked about the gay community needing to stick together and reminded us how far we’d come, and how far we still needed to go. I still remember the disappointment in his eyes after the marriage amendment vote and how he said we need to keep making our voices heard and not give up.

Ed taught me a new meaning for two words; community and family. Through him I became part of a bigger family than I ever could have imagined, and a community that never ceases to amaze me with its heart and spirit. My hope is that his vision and Club 5 continue to offer that environment to that next person new to our community. I hope my greeting them to this new experience lets me become that man at the end of the bar who welcomed me. I miss you, Ed. Thank you!

~ Dave Eick, Club 5 Manager*

*Editor’s Note: Club 5 has since been renamed Five Nightclub.

Obituary:

Ed Grunewald
March 2, 1955 – April 21, 2008
Marshall, WI

Edward P. Grunewald, age 53, of Fitchburg, passed away on Monday, April 21, 2008, at home after a brief illness of pancreatic cancer. He was born on March 2, 1955, in Marshall, the son of Elmer and Ethel (Frentzel) Grunewald. Ed attended Marshall High School. After high school he became active in the restaurant industry. He worked at a restaurant in South Dakota before returning to Madison to work as a manager at the Essen Haus. He then opened Manoeuvres at 150 S. Blair St. —a year before the 1996 fire at the Hotel Washington.  He also opened We Are Family, a gay gift shop at 524 East Wilson St., and went on to close Manoeuvres and open Club 5 on September 3, 1998. He is survived by four siblings,  many nieces and nephews, and his partner, Yohandi Ortega. Ed was preceded in death by his parents.