Grace Stribling Albritton, February 2, 1924 - January 2017. Rraised in Berkeley CA by her parents Col. Fred Dendy (So. Carolina) and Lily Coury Stribling (Beirut, Lebanon).
Although they moved frequently because of her father's military career she graduated from Berkeley High School. Her father had transferred to Seattle to prepare for WW II and his family followed. Grace entered UC Berkeley as a freshman but after participating in a summer program at University of Washington she received a full scholarship and transferred to double major in English and Drama. She was a member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority and graduated and was initiated in the Phi Beta Kappa Society.
Grace acted in elementary school and carried leads all through high school soon becoming the lead ingénue in all productions at the Showboat Theatre - University of Washington, for the next three years. By chance she met her future husband Elmer at a military Christmas Eve dance in Seattle.
She graduated right as World War II began. Elmer served as a naval officer in WW II on a mine sweeper and Grace remained in the U.S. After the war they were married at the Episcopal Church in The Presidio in San Francisco August 1948. Elmer was in the naval reserves during the Korean War and Grace traveling with her mother and Col. Fred to Korea as well. She traveled in military jeeps organizing the USO shows during the war and even appeared on the cover of "Stars and Stripes" magazine as "Ms. Shanghai"!
Elmer's career and furthering education as a patent attorney took them to Chicago, Washington D.C., Los Angeles and finally Marin County where they built their dream home and moved in 1959 with Bob, John and Paul in tow. Sue was born shortly thereafter. The kids thrived growing up in Kentfield attending A.E. Kent, Redwood High, UC Berkeley, Yale, Georgetown Law and U.S.F. Grace (and Elmer) remained a die-hard CAL fan singing the "fight" song just weeks before her passing.
Elmer passed away in 1988. Her parents also moved to Kentfield and passed in '74 and '98.
Grace remained in Kentfield. After the kids were out of the house she traveled to Europe, Hawaii, Tahiti, Moorea, New Zealand and Australia. Throughout many of her years she was designing the make-up charts for the characters in the Marin Art & Garden Center Jr. Theatre with Marion Cain, acting in the Masque Unit for Marin County school kids, served on the Board of the Marin Ballet School, attended Kappa Kappa Gamma reunions and President of the local Association of Phi Beta Kappa society, active with Stanford Children's Hospital Auxiliary, and enjoyed symphony and ACT in S.F. for decades.
Despite failing eyesight she acted with Masque Unit long into her 80's. A huge part of her life was spent actively participating in the vestry and activities at St. John's Episcopal Church in Ross, CA, which became their home church in 1957. Building one of the first cabins in Squaw Valley for the 1960 Olympics, she became an avid ice skater and skier. Quite the trooper she set up many a tent for camping, organized the scuba equipment for family dive trips, strapped skis on the station wagon for decades of numerous Tahoe ski trips, organized hikes up Mt. Tam, hosted swim school in her pool, supported many environmental groups and events and thrived as "Mortisha" at the annual Adams (Albritton) Family Halloween tradition to the delight of 100's of neighborhood kids.
Grace hosted many Boy Scout, Camp Fire Girls and Girl Scout meetings as well as musical recitals of her children. Carting kids to music, soccer, science field trips all summer long, her house was always open to anyone who needed it, young and old. Strong in her faith she taught the kids to share the food on their plate and always make room at the table. She helped Elmer hang many a painting at State Bar Art Shows and hosted Japanese exchange students for many summers while they attended College of Marin. She continued to host holiday gatherings every year to the end, keeping the family together with the addition of six grandchildren.
She died peacefully of natural causes in her sleep at her home surrounded by her loving family. She is survived by Bob (Liz), John (Paulette), Paul (Paris), Sue (Trevor) and all but Laguna Beach John are based in Marin County. Also, six grandchildren Caitlin, Nick, Victoria, Eve, Lily and Ethan. Her stories and zest for life will be sorely missed by all who knew her. She truly was the "Amazing Grace".
Service is 1:00 PM Saturday, January 7th 2017, St. John's Episcopal Church, Ross, CA. Contact Church or family for details. Celebration to follow immediately after service. Donations in her name may be made to St. John's.
Published in Marin Independent Journal on Jan. 1, 2017
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