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Grace Anestine (Osterberg) McCray

Beloved Sister, Mother, Grandmother

"Although the trail is long and filled with many a turnin', I'll wind my way back where that someone is yearnin', when my dreams come true, I will be there too, by a window at the end of the lane."

Known affectionately to her children as "Mama" and to her grandchildren as "Grandma Mexico", she passed away peacefully at age 90 with her brother Bud, children, and grandchildren at her side. She walked into the light and met "Daddy", her beloved husband who passed away before her. Grandpa Mexico sang to her upon their reunion and he will now continue to serenade her through eternity. He'd been waiting for her and we had to let her go.

Mama is survived by her five children: Vadastine Roger Lovato of Camp Verde, Arizona; Vaden McCray of Camp Verde, Arizona; Vonda John Hodges of Watsonville, California; Velda Joe Dixon of Deleon, Texas; and Veldon Ricki Mancebo McCray of Felton, California. Also survived by her brother William "Bud" Errol Osterberg, and her half-siblings Fred Osterberg, Donald Osterberg, Carl Osterberg, and June Dolly Padjan. She leaves 10 grandchildren, 16 great grandchildren, and two great great grandchildren and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins. She was a wonderful mother and grandmother and loved unconditionally. We have grieved deeply while losing her once to dementia and now again to death.

She was preceded in death by her husband of 65 years, Vaden John McCray. Also preceded in death by her sister Edna Osterberg, and half-brother Danny Osterberg; both her parents, Oscar Fredolph Osterberg and Ellen Amanda Shawver, and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews. Her siblings-in-law, Vaughn McCray, Velma Stockley, Vera Greenman, Virgil McCray, and Verna Barner also predeceased her.

Born near Albion, Washington, on a wheat ranch, she was a resident of Santa Cruz since 1943. Grace and her husband Vaden opened Mystery Spots in New Mexico and Michigan. Her family was featured in a Life magazine spread on the Mystery Spot in the November 15, 1948 issue. They raced greyhounds and thoroughbred racehorses. Grandma once cleverly named a racehorse Red Tassels using either the first or middle initials of all 10 of her grandchildren. In the 1950s they ran cattle at Arana Gulch later Harbor High School. She and her husband met at a greyhound race. On March 18, 2001, they celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary.

Her granddaughter Deidre gave her grandparents the affectionate nicknames, Grandpa and Grandma Mexico, because of their frequent stays in New Mexico, where Grandma once ran for Municipal Judge. Grandma Mexico loved to hear her family sing, accompanied by her husband on the guitar. She was very gregarious and never met a stranger. She loved family gatherings and parties.

Grandma Mexico spent considerable time and energy researching her, and her husband's, families' roots. She traced one family line back to an original settlement in Jamestown. She and her husband traveled the United States, usually with children and/or grandchildren in tow, often in search of new genealogical information, family pictures, or meeting or strengthening connections with relatives. She also served as the family archivist, collecting and organizing family data, papers and information which have now been passed onto her daughter Vonda. She was an avid reader and writer and wrote down many family stories which will now benefit her children and grandchildren and many generations to come. She was a talented artist/painter and photographer and developed her own photos. She was very proud of the fact that she earned a college degree in her 50s and consistently made the honor roll while doing so.

The family wishes to acknowledge the wonderful and deeply loving care given to Mama by Carmen Maldonado, her caretaker of the past six years. Carmen made sure Mama was happy, healthy and her needs met even as her capabilities greatly diminished with dementia.

Services will be conducted at: Oakwood Memorial Chapel, 3301 Paul Sweet Road, Santa Cruz.

Viewing: Tuesday, May 22, 3-6 pm

Services/Interment: Wednesday, May 23, 1 pm with great nephew-in-law Don Zonic officiating; Reception immediately following.

Contributions are preferred to:

Hospice Caring Project, 940 Disc Drive, Scotts Valley, CA 95066.

Alzheimer's Association, 1777A Capitola Road, Santa Cruz, CA 95062


Published in Santa Cruz Sentinel on May 22, 2007
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