Remembering Bill Greiwe

Celebrating the life, industry passion of Cheyenne International's CEO

Melissa Vonder Haar, Freelance Writer

Bill Greiwe

GROVER, N.C. -- This weekend, the tobacco industry lost a cherished and outspoken member of the family with the unexpected death of Cheyenne International's William J. Greiwe.

"It is with much sadness that we announce that William J. Greiwe, Chief Executive Officer, passed away suddenly on August 31," Cheyenne's CFO David Scott said in a written statement. "Bill is one of Cheyenne's founding partners and served as its CEO since the company's inception. Our thoughts and prayers are with Bill's wife Janet and his entire family."

It is truly a loss, especially for those of us who got to know Bill at the multitude of meetings and events he not only attended, but whole-heartedly participated in with the kind of passion that fuels this industry.

"Bill was as colorful and candid a person you'll find in the tobacco world," said CSP vice president and group editor Mitch Morrison. "I loved his wit and his poignancy, whether he was criticizing federal regulators or questioning his own industry. Bill loved his business and knew it well. The only thing he loved more was his wife and two kids. I'll miss not seeing him at the NATO Show and other industry events."

"I came to know Bill Greiwe through his company's membership in NATO, and I regularly saw him at retail conferences," added NATO's executive director, Thomas Briant. "He always had keen insights on industry issues, especially on federal tobacco regulations. His leadership and guidance on tobacco issues will be surely missed."

As recently as the CSP Tobacco Category Review Meeting last month, Bill passionately called for his industry counterparts to take up the cause of educating both regulators and the public on the very real black market threat. Not only did Bill speak eloquently on this topic during the meeting's general sessions, but sought me out for a one-on-one discussion on how important it is for CSP to tackle this issue. Never once did Bill mention Cheyenne or attempt to get coverage for one of the company's many products--his sole focus was on how illicit trade could hurt the entire industry, not just his own interests. In Bill's passing, we have lost a great warrior.

Greiwe's family will receive friends from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Friday, Sept. 6, at St. Gabriel's Catholic Church in the Narthex and a funeral service will be held Saturday at 10:00 a.m. in the main parish of St. Gabriel's, 3016 Providence Road, Charlotte, N.C. Memorials may be made to Make A Wish Foundation, Gift Processing Center, P.O. Box 6062, Albert Lea, MN 56007-6662 or online at