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Stephen L. Griner

June 19, 1945 ~ November 19, 2018 (age 73)

Steve L. Griner, 73, of Mulberry, passed away Monday, November 19, 2018 after a well fought battle with cancer.  He was born June 19, 1945, in Lafayette, to the late Virgil Griner and Luella (Frantz) Griner. He attended Dayton School and graduated from Lafayette Jefferson High School 1965 and served in the Indiana National Guard.

Well known around his hometown of Mulberry, Steve was an original and could be regularly found working in his shop or driving around with his loyal dog, Daisy, in her favorite seat.  From a very young age, Steve had a love for building and rebuilding things that moved.  From go carts, to dragsters, to Indy cars, to Model T’s, Steve’s mind was always working on the next project.  He’d often sketch out his designs on napkins and then go back to the shop and start building.

Steve was known throughout the racing industry as “Griner” of Griner Racing and Griner Engineering.   He was considered by many as an idol, mentor, or even the “grandfather” of Drag Racing Automatic Transmissions, and they attribute their success to many of Steve’s initial creations.  He was the brain behind numerous innovations including the creation of the first internal transbrake and the lockup converter which worked so well that eventually NHRA officials outlawed them both for fear they gave those without a disadvantage. Some of Steve’s other creations included the first billet aluminum valve body , the spragless valve body system and many unique torque converter designs, just to list a few of many breakthroughs.He could talk hydraulic theory all day and night and many in the racing transmission industry will miss his presence dearly.

“Griner” had a passion for working on Model T’s and got great joy out of running his rebuilt Model T in the Newport Hill Climb year after year and placed first two years in a row.  He belonged to the Model T Club – Indy 500 Chapter.

Steve is survived by his sister, Carolyn Griner Butts, of Texas; half-sister, Tracey Griner Mason (David), of Michigan; nephews, Gregory Butts, of Texas, and Darrin (Michelle) Butts, of California; aunts, Margy Shuey, of Stockwell, and Carol Frantz, of Lafayette; many cousins; and his special family of close friends.

In addition to his parents, Steve is preceded in death by his brother, Bruce Griner; brother-in-law, Chuck Butts; and grandparents, Forrest and Eva Griner and John and Velma Frantz, in whose home he grew up.

Visitation will be held on Saturday, November 24, 2018, at Genda Funeral Home Mulberry Chapel from 9:30 a.m. to the start of the funeral service at 11:00 a.m.  Pastor Michael E. Pierson Sr. will officiate.  Burial will follow in Concord Cemetery.  Memorials in Steve’s name may be made to the donor’s charity of choice.  Online condolences may be directed to

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