Grace Hyde

Grace M. Hyde

Dec. 19, 1919 – Mar. 2, 2014

Born at home in Rensselaer, N.Y, Grace was the 2nd youngest of 4 children of Ethel and Ray Hyde.  Always a bright academic, Grace attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, earning a B.S. degree in 1941, a M.S. degree in 1942, and ultimately a M.D. in 1948.  Remarkably, Grace was one of only 17 women in her medical school graduating class of 125.  Before entering medical school, she also worked for 2 years as a bacteriologist at the Upjohn Company in Kalamazoo, MI.

In 1948, Grace moved west for an internship at Highland Hospital in Oakland.  While at Highland, Grace met fellow intern Gerhard Hencky and they married in 1949.   In the same year, she secured a residency in pathology at Highland and that would mark the beginning of her 40 year career as a pathologist, all at Highland.   In the mid-1950's, Grace gave birth to her two children and continued to work at Highland while raising her children.  When her children were older, Grace even took on an additional job as a cytologist and often could be found late at night in her den, hunched over her microscope.  

Grace and Gerhard divorced in 1976 and she never looked back, buying a small home for herself in the Orinda hills and working happily until she was 70 years old. Retirement did not slow her down either; Grace stayed active by taking aerobics classes at the Orinda Community Center, volunteering and line-dancing with the Moraga Movers,  taking upholstery classes in Pleasant Hill,  becoming a member of the Golden Gate Chapter of the California Rare Fruit Growers, and working in her garden.   In the latter, she was almost always accompanied by her dogs.   Grace was a true dog-lover and particularly fond of golden retrievers and black labs.  Over the years, she enjoyed the company of at least 10 dogs and supported a number of rescue organizations.  

In her retirement she also took the opportunity to travel internationally, often on group tours to special gardens, including to the U.K., New Zealand, and Russia.   

Grace was a good listener and generous mother, a kind and loyal friend, a proudly independent woman, and an individual of the utmost integrity.  She was also a fighter, battling numerous health problems over the last several years while still retaining her quick wit and wonderful sense of humor.

Grace is survived by her children Sharran Rodd and Alan Hencky, and grandchildren Chris, Rachel, Nathan, and Afton.   A celebration of her life will be held in Orinda on Saturday March 22 at 2pm.  Please RSVP to    or call 510.338.3975.

Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Mar. 9, 2014