FRISCO, Texas -- The convenience-store and beverage industries are mourning the death of former Nestle Waters North America executive Rex Griswold, 56, who died Friday, Aug. 4, from complications related to his five-year battle with multiple system atrophy, or MSA.
"Rex embodied courage, as do his wife and children. The nasty journey that the family endured these past years is not wished upon anyone," said Kay Segal, a board member of the Rex Griswold Foundation and a former Winsight and c-store executive. "They dealt with the ordeal head-on—with humor, tenderness, courage and a desire to bring information about MSA into the open."
Griswold is survived by his wife Traci and two sons, Park and Wilson. A memorial services will be held at 3 p.m. CDT Friday, Aug. 11, in Christ United Methodist, 3101 Coit Road, Plano, Texas.
MSA is a fatal and incurable degenerative neurological disorder in which systems of the body slowly shut down.
Upon Griswold's diagnosis in 2012, along with those of others in the industry, the convenience-store industry via the Rex Griswold Foundation became a leading proponent of fundraising efforts to help find a cure for MSA. Over the past three years, a charity dinner/party during the industry's NACS Show has become a primary fundraising event for the foundation, raising thousands of dollars in an effort to find a cure for the disease.
"The foundation started in Rex’s name has provided important information, hope to others and funds for important research, with help from our industry," Segal said. "Rex lives on in our hearts, minds and actions. His energizing smile and the light of his will continues to shine upon us with the sun and the moon."
Griswold worked for Nestle Waters North America for 23 years, rising to the position of vice president of out-of-home channels, which includes c-stores. He retired in 2014.
Here are some other sentiments shared since Griswold's passing:
"Rex Griswold was a person who could literally light up a room with his big booming voice. He loved to laugh and meet people; all the while he was the consummate business person. As I worked with Rex, his drive to win was infectious, and he made it seem like fun. The c-store channel was the perfect environment for Rex, because the community takes and sees thing at face value, which describes Rex to a tee. No question, he changed many lives at Nestle Waters. Rex was so treasured and loved and will surely be missed."--Tom Hipwell, Nestle Waters North America
"I was one of the more fortunate individuals to have known Rex over the 15-plus years we worked together at Nestle Waters. His kindness, humor, passion, demeanor, humbleness and mentorship that he brought daily are only a few of the words in which to describe him. His courage that he displayed during his fight with the disease was done with honor and grace while also trying to help others facing the same challenges. I am honored to have known and learned from Rex. He was a true friend who I will deeply miss." --Jim Donker, Nestle Waters North America
"For me, Rex embodied the true meaning of dignity, will and passion for life. He never wavered in the face of the greatest of all challenges." --Mike McGowan, Nestle Waters North America
"Rex was a model for us. I recall very early in his struggle with this devil disease a discussion I had with him as to how he could provide much to many by way of example, purpose and resolve. He did just that and so much more. He didn't just fight the disease and go down in defeat, he lived a life of courage and example." --Paul Reuter, Midwest Retail Group and formerly of CSP Business Media
"Rex was an industry leader and very well respected. He was certainly a man that many of us admired for his professionalism and integrity, especially as he fought this illness. He will be greatly missed, and all of us are better for knowing him and experiencing his leadership and courage." --Kevin Martello, Dr Pepper Snapple Group
"Grace, courage, joy in the face of adversity, just some of the words to describe Rex. Tracy and the family are in the thoughts and prayers of my family." --Glenn Diehl, Skyline Genesis Event Marketing
"For me personally, he was a gift of a friend, client and overall humble human being. Courageous is the word that I think sums up who he was." --Karen Spiegel, Winsight
This year's Fuel the Fight Against MSA benefit during the NACS Show will be held Thursday, Oct. 19, at Navy Pier in Chicago. Click here for more information.
CSP Daily News sends its condolences to family and friends.