ILS mourns passing of Franz Gruber

With deep regret, and great personal sorrow, I am notifying his legions of friends of the death of a laser industry giant, in both stature and journalistic talent. Franz Gruber, one of the most respected journalists in the European industrial laser community, passed away on Saturday January 24th, after a debilitating illness robbed him of his lifetime goal of creating a new laser magazine.

Franz was known, admired, respected, and loved by legions of those whose lives he touched. He was a journalist with immense talents, a listener, and reporter of facts which he communicated through world class writing talents. An interview by Franz was a textbook example for an aspiring journalist. His talent in this respect opened doors at companies all over Germany, and more importantly the interviewees became life long friends of this mild mannered industry reporter.

About two decades ago Franz founded EuroLaser, one of the first magazines to focus on the industrial laser technology in Germany. As a one man publisher and editor he built this magazine to be the journal of record for this industry in Germany, so much so that he eventually sold the magazine to a larger publishing house, where he continued producing it along with his reporting on other aspects of metal fabrication.

A year ago Franz fulfilled a long-time dream we had to join me to start a new publication Industrial Laser Europe. As colleagues for 17 years we had many discussions about what we could do together and ILE was the results. Unfortunately shortly after joining the ILE team he was diagnosed with lung cancer. He continued to work as long as he could as this disease, and its side effects, took its toll on his energy. His private manner kept the ravages of this disease from his friends. Finally just as the first issue of ILE was published he was forced to announce his retirement as a journalist. His passing will leave a large void in the industrial laser community.

Franz married late in life, and he and his beloved wife Susanne made a too brief but happy life in the lovely town of Weißenhorn near Ulm, Germany. He will be buried in the old cemetery of this town on January 29th.

We will all remember this great bear of a man who had the most gentle, self-effacing manner coupled with marvelous good humor. Rest in peace Franz, you will be missed.

David Belforte

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