Victoria Grace HALSTEAD

HALSTEAD - Victoria Grace 56, a lover of life and bringer of joy, passed away in Albany, NY on February 26, 2014 after a courageous battle with a rare auto-immune condition. "Vicki", as she was called by family and friends, was born July 1, 1957 to Edward Grace and Jacqueline Cudmore. She is survived by her father Ned and her sister Meredith Grace (Plant City, FL), her brother Powel Crosley (New Zealand), her daughter Kate and son-in-law Kyle Pritchard (Corvallis, OR), her son John Preston (Omaha, NE) her son and daughter-in-law Justin and Samantha Halstead (Albany, NY); also her nephew Jarrod Gonzalez (Akron, OH), aunt Audrey Fulmer (West Columbia, SC), niece Andrea Crosley (Columbia, SC), niece and nephew Kimberly and William Long (East Aurora, NY), nieces Kelley and Corey Halstead (Dunedin, FL), nieces Sophia and Milena (New Zealand), Taylor Dugan (Albany, NY), and Pippin, her constant companion and sidekick. She was predeceased by her beloved husband Preston, her mother Jacqueline Grace, and her niece Janet Gonzalez. A graduate of Iroquois Central High School in Elma, NY in 1975, Vicki married her high school sweetheart Preston Halstead, of East Aurora, NY in 1978. They shared a deep love beyond compare for 34 years until Preston passed away in 2012. Vicki lost her loving and exuberant mother Jacqueline only weeks prior, and displayed inspiring resolve in the wake of her losses. She found strength through her faith in Christ, while providing comfort to her family, and continuing to share her laughter and love with everyone she could touch. Vicki lived a life of service. While raising her children with her husband in New Ipswich, NH, Vicki worked for the Crisis Pregnancy Center, a non-profit Christian Organization based in Peterborough, NH, where she provided counsel to young women under challenging circumstances. She taught summer youth Sunday School classes at New Ipswich Congregational Church, mixing worship with fun for her students. She also served as a PTA member at her children's school. After re-locating back to Elma, NY with her family in 1996, Vicki became a volunteer raiser for Guiding Eyes for the Blind. Her first black lab pup, Orion, recently retired after many years of negotiating the hustle and bustle of Oklahoma City. Vicki produced multiple stud dogs after Orion, including "Evan from Heaven", and helped train new raisers in need of some "puppy love", as she liked to say. Vicki had a natural gift for teaching and mentoring young people, and returned to Iroquois High School as a substitute teacher. Vicki and Preston moved to Albany, NY in 2004 and shared their last few years together overlooking Buckingham Pond, a place that brought Vicki much happiness. She continued to serve others through Bethlehem Community Church in Delmar, NY as a deaconess. Vicki was an amazing woman, with the uncanny ability to coach loved ones, friends, and complete strangers through life's challenges. Her greatest legacy is her children, for she took her duties as a mother very seriously, and poured her heart into their upbringing. Her spirit and warmth will be dearly missed. The family will receive friends 4-7 PM on Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at the DANIEL KEENAN FUNERAL HOME, 490 Delaware Ave, Albany, NY 12209. A service to celebrate Vicki's life will be held at 11 AM on Thursday, March 6, 2014 at King's Chapel , 440 Rt 9W, Glenmont, NY 12077. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Taylor Dugan Scholarship Fund, created by Vicki in memory of her husband Preston, Big Brother to Taylor through Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Capital Region. Donations can be mailed to her son Justin Halstead at 165 Euclid Ave, Albany, NY 12208. Donors will receive a confirmation of deposit with sincere gratitude. Condolences may be offered on Vicki's Facebook page, where she enjoyed connecting with her friends and family. www.danielkeenanfuneralhome.com.

Funeral Home

Daniel Keenan Funeral Home, Inc.
490 Delaware Avenue Albany, NY 12209
(518) 463-1594

Published in the Buffalo News on Mar. 4, 2014