Grayce Thompson

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Thompson, Grayce Edna

February 27, 1925 - February 17, 2017

We lost Grayce 10 days before her 92nd birthday. Born into a large family in Dannemora, upper NY. Grayce overcame personal and family challenges and obtained her Bachelor of Christian Education from Union Presbyterian Seminary, Richmond, Virginia., developing a unique and creative ministry of hope and charity based on her faith of love through Jesus Christ.

During 1948-1956 Grayce worked with the Presbyterian Choctaw and Chickasaw Churches of SE Oklahoma and students of Oklahoma Presbyterian College (OPC), later working for the NM Synod of the Presbyterian Church (now the Presbytery of Santa Fe). She provided ministry to small churches throughout rural New Mexico including Jemez Pueblo, and to Navajo and Ute students of the Albuquerque Indian Boarding School. Grayce established an independently funded innovative model of a work apprentice and mentoring project with local businesses and students from Canoncito Navajo Community (now Tohajiilee) attending West Mesa High School, Albuquerque. Over her lengthy career she related to diverse students from multiple backgrounds and tribes, giving emotional and social support needed to help them stay in school and excel in their chosen professions. Her humor and creativity were embodied in going to Clown Camp in 1989 at the University of Wisconsin--La Crosse becoming the infamous "Contagious."

In her declining years she returned to her beloved SE Oklahoma hills also taking her ailing brother Eddie. With the support of former student and dear friend, Tommie Joe Allen, and Tommie's family, Grayce was able to stay in her home near Atoka, OK. Tommie said, "Her little body was just worn out until her death of age related causes. I would never have gone to college if not for Grayce's influence. She chased me up and down those old dirt roads around Old Church, insisting I could do it. Thanks, Grayce."

Grayce's and Eddie's final wishes were to be cremated. They will be placed together at the "Old Church" cemetery, Bennington Presbyterian Church, one of the 12 churches Grayce served during her early ministry in Oklahoma. She asked that there be no formal service, which will be honored.

Should anyone wish to make a memorial contribution, please do so in c/o the Old Church Cemetery Fund, and mail to Tommie J. Allen, 1423 South Grassy Lake Rd., Atoka, OK 74525.

Published in Albuquerque Journal on Mar. 5, 2017