Grace Hendricks Irby

April 24, 1932 – November 18, 2018

Our amazing Grace died peacefully at home in Highland, California, on November 18, 2018, after battling major medical problems. She was born in Richmond, Utah, to Lorin Asa and Annie Hendricks – members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (aka Mormon) and raised on the family dairy farm.

Preceded her death were Grace’s siblings, Helen, Saul, Douglas, and twins Veryl and James Vance. Her older sister, Ila Jean Kofed lives in Idaho. Grace is survived by her husband, Charles, of 63 years of marriage.  Children and spouses Elizabeth Anne Irby Rice (Robert Rice), Richard Charles Irby, and Laura Ellen Pickett (Michael Pickett). Five grandchildren Katie Rice, Samuel Rice, Ian Pickett, Connor Pickett, and Caitlin Grace Pickett. She was loved by close and distant family members, including 6 nephews and 13 nieces.

During her student years at Utah State Agriculture College, now known as Utah State University, Grace worked part-time in the library. She used her English skills as Assistant Editor of the Scribble, a monthly literary magazine compared to the Atlanta Monthly. Grace was an active member of psi and the History Club. In 1954 she graduated with majors in both History and English.

Grace met her future husband, Charles, when both were taking a class in Russian History. Charles was a Forest Management major and upon graduation they decided to marry. They married in Resurrection Catholic Church in New York City on August 28, 1955, and spent the next 63 years together living a full and adventurous life. The first 5 years of married life Grace and Charles lived in White Swan, Washington, on the Yakima Indian Reservation, where Charles was a forester with the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Elizabeth and Richard were born during this 5 year period. While there Charles became interested in education and returned to Utah State University where he completed graduated studies in science education. Elizabeth was in kindergarten and Richard was in preschool. Grace was the secretary to the Dean of Liberal Arts at Utah State University.

In the 1960’s, Great Britain was giving independence to many of its colonies in Africa. At this time educators were needed to staff the schools and the program Teachers for East Africa was established to provide the needed teachers. Charles and Grace applied and were accepted for the program and after orientation at Columbia University Teacher’s College were assigned to Kenya, East Africa. Charles taught Biology at an African Boys Secondary School while Grace was working for the Kenya Department of Agriculture. Grace volunteered part time to teach English and set up the library at the Kenya Israel School of Social Work.

After about 3 years in Kenya, the family returned to the states. Charles was a supervisor of the Agricultural and Landscape Training Program of the Clearfield Job Corp Center in Clearfield, Utah. While here, Laura was born in Ogden, Utah, and Grace was an active mom to the 3 children’s upbringing. Grace’s husband Charles was selected to be Deputy Director of the Peace Corps Program in the Fiji Islands. While here, Grace, participated in the Fiji Government and United States Cultural and Social Activities and hosted Peace Corps volunteers who needed a motherly touch now and then.

Grace was a strong believer and supporter of social justice, civil, and women’s rights as exemplified in her family life. She found membership in the Universalist Unitarian Church of Riverside, California, that paralleled her spiritual and social interests. Grace was active and a vibrant member of UU Women’s Federation focusing on women’s issues. She utilized her extraordinary writing skills to be editor of the UUCR Reporter and writing “Grace’s Notes” on a selected basis. These writings showed off her great intellect and inner most feelings of the issues of the day.

As seen by the hundreds of books in Grace’s home she was an avid reader. There was always a book in her hand, even while brushing her teeth. She loved mystery novels, biographies, and other genres that piqued her interest. Besides Grace’s intellectual skills she had a practical side. She was an astute seamstress and designed and made many of her children’s and husband’s clothes. Grace took pride in making Laura’s wedding dress.

Grace was a music lover. She played the flute and piccolo in her high school marching band and played the piano for personal enjoyment She was a follower of classical music and attended yearly to the Redlands Symphony Orchestra. Sketches of Spain by Miles Davis was one of her favorite jazz pieces. Camping was one of her favorite outdoor activities. She camped with her family and her church group. Camping in Kings Canyon, Yellowstone, Grand Tetons National Park along with various sites on National Forests, and during her many travels. Grace took on the outdoors as a challenge. This was evident in white water rafting trips she took with her daughter Laura.

Due to Charles’s career moves, Grace was a traveler. She spent time in East Africa, Egypt, 3 months in Western Europe, sailing in the Caribbean, Hawaii, and lived in Connecticut, Washington, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia. She spent her last years living in California. Grace had many hobbies such as gardening, jewelry making, completing the New York Times Crossword puzzle, painting, and home decorating using artifacts form her foreign travels.

While in California, Grace was a bookkeeper/office manager for a large, local real estate firm until she retired in 1997.

Grace’s cremated remains will be buried in Richmond City Cemetery, Utah, with family and friends attending on June 15, 2019, at 1:00pm. We all love and will always remember our Amazing Grace! The family thanks Charter Hospice for its assistance and concern, and also Family Memorial Mortuary Crematory.

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.