Grace Elizabeth Taylor Hodges passed away after a long illness at the age of 90 on April 22, 2018 in Burlington, North Carolina. She had been a resident of The Village of Brookwood for six years or as her family fondly referred to it, Graceland. Grace is now enjoying a reunion with her beloved husband of 51 years, Bill, her parents George Napoleon Taylor and Sarah Luella Waller Taylor, and her sister Ann Taylor Hines.
Grace was a dynamic, beautiful, smart and confident woman. She was charming, loved to socialize and had countless friends. She never knew a stranger and was often described by her husband as someone who really knew how to work a room.
Grace consistently utilized her wide array of talents and abilities by giving back to the communities she lived in. She helped create and start a summer camp for disabled children in High Point, North Carolina; was actively involved in local and state politics and contributed her time and resources to the special Olympics – just to name a few.
She was passionate about her alma mater, Duke University. She always had to cheer a little louder during the annual Duke/UNC match-up as the rest of her family held collectively five UNC undergraduate and advanced degrees. She had an immense love and compassion for animals – specifically cats. There were always a multitude of cats running around and the naming of a new feline addition was always a family affair.
Grace was born in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina on March 17, 1928, the youngest of three girls. Her father, George owned wholesale groceries and her mother, Sarah was a schoolteacher. Grace grew up in the small northeastern paper mill town of Roanoke Rapids. She formed a number of friendships that lasted a lifetime even though physical distance separated them. One of these friendships was her future husband, Bill. Grace received an excellent education at Roanoke Rapids High School, which at that time was the top academically rated high school in the state. She graduated from Roanoke Rapids High in 1946 and entered Duke University where she was a member of the Pi Beta Phi Sorority. No surprise that she was very popular on campus. She was never without a date to whatever game, play or concert was being held on campus. She spent many weekends attending Glenn Miller concerts at the Tin Can on the UNC campus, Duke football games, dances as well as trips to Nags Head Beach with a group of friends.
Grace graduated with a BA in English in 1950. She taught high school English and History, first in Hertford, North Carolina and later in Weldon, North Carolina., Thomasville, North Carolina and Jamestown, North Carolina.
Grace and Bill were married on August 16, 1952 in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina and moved to High Point, North Carolina where Bill was the sports editor and later news editor for the High Point Enterprise. Grace became actively involved in various charities and public service organizations. In the late 1960’s, she became a juvenile probation officer for Guilford County. While working, Grace earned her MA in Education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Grace and Bill moved to Jamestown, North Carolina in 1966 where the family resided for eight years. In 1974, they moved to Sanford, North Carolina when Bill became the editor of the Sanford Herald. Grace quickly formed lasting friendships and became active in the community. Grace was employed as Coordinator of Continuing Education for Central Carolina Technical Institute (later Central Carolina Community College or CCCC) in Sanford, NC. She eventually helped to create the CCCC foundation, which she headed until her retirement. Her impact at CCCC will be remembered for many years. Additionally, Grace organized a number of tours to England, Spain, Germany and Norway through CCCC.
After Grace and Bill retired, they had hoped to spend their remaining years together enjoying life and traveling. However, Bill was diagnosed with emphysema in 1991 and Grace spent her energies and time taking care of him for his remaining 12 years.
Following Bill’s death, her family had hoped she could enjoy many years indulging her numerous passions and talents. However, life took an unexpected and cruel turn when she was diagnosed with a mild cognitive impairment which degenerated into Alzheimer’s. Grace and her beloved cats moved into the Village at Brookwood in 2011 where her “new” family, the Brookwood staff, lovingly welcomed her.
Grace is survived by her daughter Ann, daughter Beth, son-in-law Ron Everhart, granddaughter, Sarah, all of Charlotte; step-grandson Chris Everhart and step great-grandsons Cameron and Oliver Everhart, all of Fredericksburg, VA; Ane Miren deAchurra of Spain, sister Margaret T. Smith of Indianapolis, IN and nephews, nieces, grandnephews and grandnieces.
A memorial service will be held for Grace on Saturday, May 12, 2018 at 11 a.m. at the Village of Brookwood, 1860 Brookwood Avenue, Burlington, N.C. In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests that donations be made to the Grace Hodges Scholarship Fund at Central Carolina Community College, 1105 Kelly Drive, Sanford, NC, 27330 or at www.cccc.edu/foundation.