May 19, 1921 – November 9, 2019
Grace S. Gerard was born May 19, 1921, in Agate, ND, to Otto Simonson and Jenny Carlson Simonson. She graduated from Bisbee High School in Bisbee, ND, in 1939. Grace attended Minot State Teacher’s College, receiving her teaching certificate and taught for one year in a rural school. In 1942 she entered Northwestern University School of Speech in Evanston IL. She received her BS degree in 1944, majoring in theater with a minor in speech education. She then entered graduate school that fall and took on the job of costume director for Evanston Children’s Theater, even though she couldn’t sew. She left during grad school to give puppet shows in New York City for a year, returning to Northwestern in the summer of ’46 to complete her Master’s Degree. (She was there during the same time that Charlton Heston and Patricia Neal were in drama school.)
That fall Grace went to Texas to do more puppet shows on children’s dental health. In 1947 she accepted a job to teach second grade at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage, AK. There she met Walt, her soon-to-be husband. They were married Jan. 21, 1948, and their daughter, Valerie, was born that year. In 1951 the family moved to the family farm in Agate after the death of Grace’s mother.
The next, and last move was to Colorado Springs in 1955 when Grace was hired to teach at Bristol Grade School. She retired from Mark Twain School in 1987 after 32 years of teaching. One of Grace and Walt’s greatest pleasures was to attend school and civic events and help with Valerie’s annual art show in Huxton, CO, where Valerie lived with her husband, Michael, and the grandchildren, Sean and Gia. In more recent years she has enjoyed participating as much as she could in happenings involving her great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband Walt, her parents, Otto and Jenny, and her siblings: Alice Solberg (Albert), Doris Johnson Wageman (John), Lily Boatz (Laurence), Ruth Bulman (Grant), Clifford Simonson (Eve), Esther Spaeth (Kenny), and Roy Simonson (Susan).
She is survived by daughter Valerie, grandchildren and spouses, Sean and Stephanie Gillotte, and Gia and Ron Gillotte-Taylor, and great grandchildren Sydney and Abbey Gillotte and Jade and Mia Gillotte-Taylor. Grace is also survived by one brother-in-law, Kenny, and numerous nieces and nephews.