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Grace Williams

Rhody Family Funeral Home

Grace Pauline was born on Monday, July 26, 1943, in Markdale to James “Jim” Crichton and Vera Hycinthe (Lougheed) Kell. She had three older half-sisters, Leona, Lorena, and Leah, as well as two older sisters, Faith, and Ruth, and was later joined by a younger brother, David. The family resided in Markdale where the kids attended Markdale Public School and later high school. Grace’s father, Jim, worked in the newspaper industry and was transferred to the Chesley paper in the late 50’s. The Kell’s soon moved to Chesley where Grace continued high school at C.D.H.S. until another transfer (to the Owen Sound Sun Times) took the family to Owen Sound whereby she finished high school at O.S.C.V.I.

As a teenager, in Markdale, Grace worked at a local restaurant, by the name of “The Marigold.” It was here that she was introduced to a young man that was five years her senior, by the name of James “Jim” David Williams. Jim frequented the pinball machine in the restaurant, but you will have to ask him if that was the real reason, he was there… Grace was quick to point out that the fact that Jim drove cool cars didn’t hurt his chances either. The young couple were married on Saturday, January 27, 1962, at St. John’s United Church, Flesherton.

The newlyweds settled in Flesherton where they welcomed their son Tracy in December of 1962. Tyler made their family complete with his arrival in December of 1967. Grace remained at home to care for her young sons but returned to the workforce once Tyler began school. She soon took a job with Terra Footwear in Markdale, working in the on-floor assembly. Through the years, she worked up to the position of floor lady in the sewing department, until the family moved out of town in 1980. It was at this time; Jim had the opportunity to purchase Southend Service Centre in Chesley. Grace was not keen on the move, and leaving her lovely home and friends behind, but she was supportive of Jim, and the family soon called Chesley home. She immediately began doing the books for the service station, in addition to joining the staff at the Bruce County Board of Education. The year was 1981. Grace began in accounts payable as a clerk, before later going to payroll. Who knew then that she would remain in these roles for the next 31 years, formally retiring in 2012. Not one to slow down, and always looking to help where needed, Grace returned to the Board on a part-time basis when needed. She truly was an extremely valuable employee and member of the team. However, her keen sense of fashion was also missed as Grace was a true fashionista!

When not busy at work or home, Grace enjoyed being involved and active in her community. Through the years, she was a member of the Flesherton Kinettes, K-40 Club, Red Hat Society, and Legion executive, just to name a few. Grace was also the long-time treasurer of the Chesley Legion, a role she filled very well! It wasn’t all work and no play for Grace. She loved to dance and attended many community dances, as well as remaining active by bicycling, and walking. Many, many nights were also spent at the racetrack, cheering on Tyler and taking in the action. In her retirement, Grace enjoyed remaining physically fit, and even lead a variety of exercise classes. She also had a green thumb and could often be found outside working in her garden or flowerbeds. Grace’s favourite flower, you might ask. A hyacinth… her mom’s middle name! Grace’s favourite colour? … well red of course! She had red everything, red car, red briefcase, red shoes, red appliances… anything that could be red, was!

After stops at Anderson Lane, and Mooresburg, the Williams returned to Chesley in 2011, when they bought their current home. They both absolutely loved this house as they were always drawn to big, old homes. After much work, they returned the house to its original beauty, as they took great pride in their property. Honestly, it was Grace’s pride and joy. Inside, Grace incorporated many of her antiques. You might also find a piece or two of Elvis memorabilia! As many of you know Grace was a huge Elvis fan, even baring a tattoo of him! She was also drawn to the likes of Patsy Cline and Willie Nelson, whom she met once whereby he even gave her a kiss… true story! She was a huge Toronto Maple Leaf fan, with Mitch Marner being her favourite. If you stopped by during a game, you quickly realized that conversations were only held during the intermissions, never during the action! Her appreciation for the sport wasn’t just limited to the professionals as Grace loved to watch her granddaughter Jaydn play as well. Grace was also an avid reader and would read anything and everything. In fact, when in Flesherton, she had her own library in her house… really! Along with Jim, Grace experienced much of Florida and the Caribbean in their travels together. She was also known to have a particular fondness for Christmas and decorating. Each year she would go all out preparing for Christmas and Halloween wasn’t much different.

Grace was truly at peace when she was at home. It didn’t matter if she was out cutting the grass or relaxing on the front porch with a beer, Labatt 50 or more recently Michelob Ultra, in hand. In her earlier years, many weekends were spent relaxing by the pool taking in the rays. She enjoyed entertaining and loved supporting those around her. This included family, friends, and community members. Honestly, Grace had an amazing way of making those around her feel important and loved. Through the years her family grew, as the Albrights and Joni Lang, became particularly close. Grace loved them like her own, and in turn, they became part of the family. They were often referred to Papa Jim and Grandma Grace. Thankfully, many memories have been made through the years, and family and friends will therefore be able to keep Grace’s memory, and spirit alive for years to come.

Grace passed away peacefully on her own terms, surrounded by her loving family, at Chapman House, Owen Sound on Thursday, May 25, 2023, in her 80th year.

Beloved wife of Jim. Cherished mother of Tyler (Melinda Croft); grandmother of Alicia (Brady) Fischer, Shelby Grace Williams, and Jaydn Williams and great-grandmother of Callan Fischer. Sister of Faith Bartley, Ruth Campbell, David (Susan) Kell, Marlene (Paul) Mahoney, and Leah Beedie. Grace will be dearly missed by her extended family, the Albrights. Lovingly remembered by Randy and Lisa, and grandmother of Amanda (Mitch) Aliberti, Kelsey (Colin) Longley, Rachel Albright (Brayden Rahn), and great-grandmother of Cohen, Hadley Rose, Laikyn, Niyla Grace, and Madison. Grace will be forever remembered by her special friend Joni Lang. She was predeceased by her son Tracy Williams, sisters Leona Knott, and Lorena McIntyre, and her parents, Jim and Vera (Lougheed) Kell.

Visitation will be held at Rhody Family Funeral Home, Chesley on Thursday from 7 – 9 p.m. A celebration of Grace’s life will be held at the Chesley Legion on Friday, June 2, 2023, from 2 – 5 p.m., with words of remembrance shared at 3 p.m. Inurnment in Flesherton Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations to the Chesley Hospital Foundation, Chesley Legion or Residential Hospice of Grey Bruce (Chapman House) would be appreciated as expressions of sympathy.

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