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Grace Marie Davis
Grace Marie Davis passed away peacefully on April 28, 2019 with her loving family by her side. She was 99.
She was born on June 24, 1919, the eldest of six children, and was raised on the family farm near St. John, North Dakota. She graduated from St. John High School in 1936 and received a lifetime teaching certificate from Valley City Teacher’s College in 1938. She worked for five years teaching in the local one-room schools where she taught her brothers, sisters, cousins, and neighbors. In the winter, she would travel to school in a one-horse sled, and in the summer, a surrey. In the summer of 1943, she travelled to Seattle with a friend. Though she had hoped to start a career in business, they both found jobs at the Boeing Company. She started washing and buffing aircraft wings but was soon promoted to spot welding, which was a job normally reserved for men. She said “It was a bit of a lark, but hard work, quite the change from teaching.” Her contribution to the war effort was recognized in the 2012 “Rosie the Riveter” calendar, published by Washington Women in Trades, an organization that recognizes that the “Rosies” prepared the way for women to work in trades in the present day. She met her future husband, Stan, at a boarding house where they were both staying. They fell in love, married on December 8, 1943, and moved to an apartment at the foot of Queen Anne Hill. After the war, she worked at the Naval Station on Pier 91 until 1947 when they moved to Lake City north of Seattle. She and Stan not only began a family with the birth of their first daughter, Diane, but they also began a home-based business, Inter-City Shade Company, which they ran for almost 50 years. After the birth of their son, Robert, they moved to a larger house in North Seattle in 1952, where their second daughter Debra was born. In 1965, she wanted to “have some fun” so she got a job in the bookkeeping department of the new JC Penney store at the Northgate shopping center. She retired in 1991 to devote her time to assisting Stan in running the Venetian blind business, until he retired in 1995.
She was a member of St. Catherine of Siena Parish for 67 years, and was a long-time member of the parish Altar Society. Both she and Stan thought it was very important to raise their three children in the Catholic faith and with a Catholic education even if, at times, it was a financial challenge. Being a child of the Great Depression, she was very thrifty and practical. She also had a life-long passion for business and investing, and was never shy about giving advice on that and many other subjects. She was always energized by family celebrations with her siblings in North Dakota and at countless holiday gatherings with Stan’s sister’s family (the Wilsons) and Stan’s parents in Seattle. She was both feisty and mischievous when expressing her views on life at these family gatherings. She always impressed on her children the importance of family and taking care of each other. It was a great joy when her siblings and their spouses attended her and Stan’s surprise 50th wedding anniversary weekend celebration in Seattle in 1993.
She suffered strokes which limited her mobility and later her speech, but not her indomitable spirit and sense of humor. She was a very strong lady and a survivor. At the end of her life, she was lovingly cared for by her children and by caregivers at home and in skilled nursing facilities. The one characteristic that most defined her was her positive attitude and her firm belief that anything can be accomplished if you put your mind to it. Her children remember her telling them that she would live to be 100 years old while keeping all of her teeth; she was just two months short of that goal!
She was preceded in death by her loving husband, Stan Davis. She is survived by son, Robert; daughters, Diane and Debbie; and many nieces and nephews. A Mass of Christian Burial was held on May 11 at St. Catherine of Siena Church, with internment at Holyrood Cemetery.