Grace Marion (Berk) Killian

December 15, 1926February 11, 2021

Grace Marion Berk Killian, age 94 of Conover, passed away on Thursday, February 11, 2021 at her home. Born December 15, 1926 in New York City, she was the daughter of the late William Berk and Amelia Berk Young.

In addition to her parents, Grace was preceded in death by her husband, Lester M. Killian., Sr.; brothers, Albert Young and Alfred Young; as well as 6 other siblings that passed when she was very young; and grandchildren, Elizabeth Christine Brewer and James Morgan Sparks.

Grace graduated from Julia Richman High School in New York City. She retired from Catawba County as the Deputy Clerk of Court. She was also a lifetime member of American Legion Auxiliary Post 48, and a member of St. Aloysius Catholic Church.

She loved to talk about her life growing up in New York City and building her life in Hickory, NC. She would tell stories about what it was like on Pearl Harbor Day in New York City, spending her time going to Coney Island, Brooklyn Dodgers games, and how different things were when she was growing up. She also loved to talk about her friendship with Frank Sinatra, “Frankie”, as she called him, hanging out at the candy shop, singing with him and playing the piano. When she arrived in Hickory she didn’t own a pair of flat shoes (no need for anything but heels in the city), and how Springs Road was only a dirt road. Her and her husband built a large and loving family and she became the ultimate “Matriarch” of the family. Her absence will be felt by all for a very long time.

Grace is survived by children, Lester M. Killian, Jr. (Ruby), of Conover; William M. Killian (Gloria), of Greenfield, IN, Barbara K. Icard (Jack) of Connelly Springs, and Grace K. Sparks of the home; grandchildren, Joseph Sparks of the home, Lester Killian, III (Nicole) of Mooresville, Mark Killian (Tammy), of Claremont, Matthew Killian (Kristie), of Mocksville, Michael Killian (Carrie), of Greenfield, IN, Jennifer Hancock (Chad), of Greenfield, IN, Joseph Killian, of Greenfield, IN, Allison Brewer of Vale, Darin Gilbert (Dee Dee), of Kings Mountain; Denise Gilbert (Angel) of Hickory, and Don Gilbert of Hickory; great-grandchildren, Morgan Killian, Hannah Killian, Caitlyn Killian, Courtney Killian, Avery Killian, Merritt Killian, Mattison Killian, Hollister Killian, Haley Killian, Elizabeth Deese, Robert Deese, Jr., Emily Deese, Brandon Gilbert, and Nathan Gilbert; great-great-grandchildren, Aiden Davis, Aria Gilbert, and Alaina Gilbert, as well as Lucky and Pepper, beloved pets of the home.

A graveside service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at Catawba Memorial Park in Hickory with Pastor Eric Hollar officiating.

The pallbearers will be Joey Sparks, Lester Killian, III, Matthew Killian, Michael Young, Tyler Young, and Robert Deese, Jr. Condolences may be sent to the Killian family at

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to Humane Society of Catawba County, 3224 20th Ave. SE, Hickory, NC 28602 or St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, PO Box 1000, Dept. 142, Memphis, TN 38148-0142.

The Killian family has entrusted funeral arrangements to Drum Funeral Home & Cremation Services in Conover, NC.


  • Graveside Service

    Wednesday, February 17, 2021


Grace Marion (Berk) Killian

have a memory or condolence to add?

William Powell

February 14, 2021

So very sorry. Condolences to the family,


February 13, 2021

Grace-you made a difference in my life. I learned so much from you. We had such times together and I treasure all of those. We went all over N.C. for the American Legion Auxiliary. You would always make me drive - lol - I was so afraid I would wreck - especially when you got your Oldsmobile, but you just laughed, and said - get in there and drive. You gave me confidence and you helped me grow over the years in ways I'd never known. All the times with you and your family and me and my family - in the mountains at Optimist Park, and down to the beach for long weekends. Apple picking and canning vegetables and soup. Such fun and so many memories. Thank you for teaching me so much. Thank you for continuing to love me even when families parted. Loved taking you to Cherokee - we had such fun! Truly, the world has lost an angel. You helped me grow and I thank you and love you! <3 You wll be so missed.

Chris Blake

February 12, 2021

My thoughts will be with the entire Killian family as you mourn this sweet and kind lady. I was lucky enough to grow up with her in my life and I have many cherished memories of her and those times. Sunday breakfast as her and Mr Killian's house on Springs road when I was just a tyke, trips to Optimist park and other fond memories abound. She taught me some lessons in life and they were always delivered with a calm demeanor and class. Over the years I always enjoyed seeing and talking to her at the various family gatherings and will always consider her as family. Simply she was there, always supportive, a smile and chuckle never far away. Rest in peace Mrs Killian and thank you for being you.