2000 was a special New Year for Grace

This is the second, and last, article on Thorndale legend Grace Berry.

G race Berry didn’t let any grass grow under her feet, at any stage of her life.

Her numerous communit y activities included election judge, voter, PTA president, Town and Country Club, devoted voter, Christmas parade grand marshall and being named Thorndale’s Outstanding Citizen in 1988.

When she sat down to rest, she crocheted. making over 370 Afghans. Most of the more colorful ones were donated to local refund raisers.

Grace had a Teddy Bear collection, and kept her mind active by reading newspapers, magazines and working crossword puzzles.

She loved traveling, going to Japan, Europe, Hawaii and numerous states. Her collection of souvenir spoons graced her home and reminded the family of their travels.

When she turned 100, “Texas Country Reporter” filmed an episode about her.

Grace continued to work at The Thorndale Champion until her 102 birthday retiring at the end of the day. David Letterman contacted her in hopes of getting her on his show, and that might have happened, if the weather had not turned off cold with lots of snow. Grace decided to stay home.

The large two story home on the corner of Davis and Berry Streets did not have air conditioning until the last few years of her life. It was then that her granddaughter Jean and husband Allen moved in to be with her.

On the eve of the new millennium in 2000 she asked granddaughter Jean Hejl and great granddaughter Julie, to wake her up at midnight, which they did. Grace was so excited the first words out of her mouth were: ”I’ve made it. I’ve lived in three centuries, 1800s, 1900s and 2000s!”

Grace lived life with enthusiasm and integrity. On a trip to Austin while traffic slowed inching along, she remarked “Oh, this is like we’re in a parade”.

If Grace had the secret for a long happy life, it must have been enjoying her afternoon refreshment, a Coke float or a chocolate milkshake made with Blue Bell homemade vanilla ice cream. Grace not only left a legacy to her family, but to everyone she came in contact with, and is remembered as “Amazing Grace!”.

“I knew my grandmother as an encourager, and a hard worker. She blessed our family with a legacy of faith, citizenship, daily perserverance, and the certainty that we were dearly loved,” recalled Jean Hejl.

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2011-02-03 digital edition

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