John Peter Gruber, age 76, passed away on Thursday, January 24, 2019, at Spring Valley Hospital in Las Vegas. He was born February 24, 1942, in Bagnères-de-Luchon, France to Max and Renee Gruber where his family hid during the Holocaust. After the war, his family moved to New York City and John grew up in the Bronx, where he made many lifelong friends. He moved with his family to Los Angeles to attend Occidental College, and met his first wife, Roe, through family connections. By then both his parents had divorced and remarried, and his family grew to include his siblings Ron Kupferstein; Phyllis Kupferstein; and Steven Gruber, and his step-parents Herman Kupferstein and Emily Gruber. He eventually obtained a Master's degree at California State University, Los Angeles, and a doctorate in Criminology at University of California Berkeley, where he was active in protests against the Vietnam War. Afterward, he worked for the city of San Francisco, overseeing the prison system during Mayor Joseph Alioto's tenure.
John and Roe moved down to Laguna Beach, California after John was offered a teaching position at Chapman University in Orange, where he eventually became Graduate Dean. They spent many summer breaks and sabbaticals traveling the world together, coming home with many interesting stories such as the time John saved Roe from a bombing in a Mark's & Spencer store in London. John was even invited to Saudi Arabia by members of the royal family, as a consultant to the Saudi Arabia Educational Mission where he trained correctional officers and law enforcement officials for the government. He also became president of the Western Society of Criminology.
After an amicable split with Roe, John moved to Chicago, Illinois to found the Forest Institute of Professional Psychology, and opened campuses all across the U.S. He then returned to California to be with his daughter Daniella, and began a number of successful entrepreneurial ventures, including Midas Car Services and FRANNET. While in Bakersfield, he met his second wife, Drina Fried, at Temple Beth El. He also became the Director of the Correctional Training Program at Bakersfield College. John continued his love of travel around the country and around the world with Drina and Daniella. Once they both retired, John and Drina moved to Henderson, Nevada where he enjoyed the last years of his life. They often spent time with Drina's son Mark and grandchildren Mia, Olivia, and Elise, either back East or at their home in Nevada.
John is survived by his wife, Drina Fried and her family; his daughter, Daniella; brother, Ron; sister, Phyllis; his niece and nephews; as well as his ex-wife Roe. He will be remembered by all his family and friends as someone who was always there to love and care for them, no matter what the circumstances.
Funeral services will be held on Thursday, January 31, 2019, at 10:00 AM at Mt. Sinai Memorial Park.