Anna Louise Foster Grier died peacefully at the Commonwealth Senior Living -Eastern Shore in Onancock, Virginia, where she had been a contented resident, known for her endless stash of chocolate to share, for almost four years. Her family thanks the staff of CSL for their kindness and care, especially during her final illness. Thanks too to the staff of Riverside Hospital and Hospice of the Eastern Shore and to Dr. Brad Murray of Eastern Shore Rural Health for his compassionate care.
Born in Virginia, Ann grew up in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, during the Great Depression. She knew her family struggled but recalled many good times: five-cent “buddy matinees” for children (she was forced to take her little brother Robert); skating and playing in the street; and the wonder of her family’s first indoor toilet. Pretty and smart, with beautiful wavy brown hair, she worked at a drug store soda fountain after school. Her father Jacob G. Foster, met the young John Grier and introduced him to his daughter, beginning a love story that only ended with his death in 2002. After she graduated from high school in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, she attended Millersville State Teacher College on a scholarship, and was the first person in her family to graduate from a four-year college in 1948.
Ann worked as a school librarian and married John James Grier in 1949; she followed him to employment in upstate New York, Iowa and New Jersey.
She stayed home to raise her children Katherine Christine and James Foster Grier until 1970, when she joined the staff of the Educational Testing Service as a service representative. This started a remarkable rise through the General Services Division, where she became director in 1981 and retired as executive director in 1995. In 1991, Ann received the YWCA – Princeton’s Tribute to Women in Industry Achievement Award. Ann believed in opportunity for everyone and worked to hire and promote women and people of color in her division. She was a superb mentor.
Ann loved the Eastern Shore of Virginia. She first discovered it through family vacations but joined her children and grandchildren in Onancock full time in 2005. She bought a comfortable small house and made many friends. She believed in supporting local businesses and enjoyed dropping in to chat. She adopted her last little dog, Nicky, from the Eastern Shore SPCA.
Ann was a lifelong reader and a lover of the visual and performing arts. She was an avid gardener, a fine home cook and baker, an animal lover with a succession of spoiled dogs and cats and, in retirement, an enthusiastic bridge and mahjong player. She loved Thanksgiving and Christmas. She imparted her love of books and the arts to her children. She loved her children Kasey and Jim, her daughter-in-law Judith Murphy Grier (who she regarded as a second daughter), and her son-in-law Paul E. Johnson -- but most of all she loved her two grandsons, Jacob and William. When they were small, “GMom” was popular for the stash of “secret toys” in her house, and later they could always count on her for cookies and a little extra cash now and again.
Ann dealt with life’s ups and downs with grace and determination. She cared for aging relatives and her husband in his final illness with kindness, and she supported her children and offered solid advice when they faced their own challenges as adults. She loved her friends and kept them for life. We will miss her very much.
A memorial reception for friends and family will be held at a later date. Funeral services are private.
Memorials in Anna Louise Foster Grier’s name can be sent to the Eastern Shore SPCA, P.O. Box 164, Onley, VA (www.shorespca.com) or the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia Eastern Shore Branch, P.O. Box 518, Onley, VA 23418 (www.foodbankonline.org).
Memory tributes may be shared with the family at www.williamsfuneralhomes.com.
Arrangements by the Williams-Onancock Funeral Home.
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