Brattleboro - Grace Merren (Morton) Wahlberg died peacefully on December 2, 2020, with family at her side, in Brattleboro, Vermont, where she had lived for her final two and a half years. Born in North Hollywood, California, to Hettie Good Morton and Carroll Tracy Morton on January 24, 1929, she lived most of her life in the San Francisco Bay Area. She attended San Mateo High School, Pomona College and Willamette University where she met Orville James (O.J.) Sparrow whom she married in 1948. She graduated from the University of California at Los Angeles in 1950, with a degree in English Literature. For the rest of her life she was an inveterate reader of the New Yorker, fiction, mysteries, and, of course, her daily San Francisco Chronicle in its entirety. O.J. was a civil engineer so they moved frequently, finally settling in Kensington, California, in 1958 to raise their five children. Grace was a tender mother who loved to laugh and managed the family chores with her characteristic wit and good spirits, coming up with funny quips and quotes and family nicknames.
Berkeley's All Souls Episcopal Church was at the center of her social and church going life for sixty years. She served for over 50 years on the Altar Guild and sang in the choir. She also belonged to Berkeley's Town and Gown Club for 40 years, participating in plays, events and the book readings. She dearly loved her countless close friends and was a staunch support for them in times of trouble. With a beautiful alto voice she was a regular member of the Faculty Wives Chorus at UC Berkeley. She devotedly attended the San Francisco Symphony and various choral concerts and appreciated all kinds of music. In reality, she was constantly singing or humming. If you paid attention though, one of her favorites was "I did it my way" in a curious pepped up version. And she did!
She also loved travel and was inspired to take up photography, ultimately becoming an excellent photographer, developing commissioned black and white portraits in the dark room until digital photography became her new passion.
She and O.J. divorced in 1982 and in 1989 she married Sven Walhberg, a prominent Swedish environmentalist. With him she travelled to Lapland, Bolivia, and China on environmental protection projects, always returning with unique photos of people, especially children. Holidays with Sven inevitably included a lavish Swedish Smorgasbord, and a lively party. She remained friends with Sven's children, Gustav and Agneta, until the end.
Grace was predeceased by both her husbands, her two brothers, Robert and Tracy, and by two of her sons, Timothy and Andrew. She is survived by two daughters, Lise, and Kristen, and one son, Paul, as well as by nine grandchildren: Ian, Allison, Kyra, Joseph, Marieke, Guillaume, Madeline, Annika, Claudia and Audrey, and six great grandchildren.
She was, until the very end, filled with grace and good humor. To her nurse caretakers she would airily say "come again!" when they left her room or the continual "Thank you!". Funeral arrangements will be announced at a future date. She will be interred at a later date with her parents in Oakland, California.
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