MARY ELISABETH GRICE
Mary Elisabeth Grice, 95, died Saturday, October 8, 2022, in Belton, MO. She had been a resident of the Benton House Assisted Living Facility in Raymore, MO for just under a year.
She was born in Browning, MO on July 22, 1927, the daughter of J.J. Smith and Margaret Elizabeth (Nevins) Smith.
Mary attended the Browning School and graduated in 1945 as valedictorian. She played basketball for a total of ten years throughout her schooling, first in elementary school, and through college. Upon graduation from high school, she was selected to attend the US Nursing Corp School at Washington University and graduated at the top of her class in May 1948.
On October 2, 1948, she was united in marriage with John William Grice. They lived and farmed on land three miles south of Browning for 67 years. They had five children: John Victor, Elizabeth Ann (Betsy), Mary Lou, Nancy Margaret, and James William (Jimmer).
In 1969, Mary and John Bill bought the Peterson Insurance Agency. She operated it for 25 years, later adding real estate and tax preparation. She was a member of the Browning United Methodist Church, active in the United Methodist Woman’s Guild, and she directed adult choir, bible school, and junior choir for over 40 years. A loyal member of Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), she joined the General John J. Sullivan Chapter on October 16, 1951, and held the following offices: Regent, John J. Sullivan Chapter, 1988-1990 and 1994-1996, and District Director, Northwest District,1997. In 2021 she was awarded a 70-year service award from her chapter. In 1972, Mary was the Chairman of the Browning Bicentennial Committee. She was a long-time bridge player with the Cinderella Club in Browning, and she was Secretary of Jenkins Cemetery for more than seven decades.
Mary was a complete partner to her husband John Bill, and they built a wonderful life together for themselves and their children. Although her declining eyesight prohibited her enjoyment of youthful interests, in recent years her hobbies earlier in her life were knitting, attending any outing or event for her children and grandchildren, and talking to her Mother, Grandma Smith, who lived with the family until her death at age 92.
Mary was preceded in death by her husband, John Bill Grice, her mother, Margaret Smith, her father, J.J. Smith, her half-brother, John Smith, and a granddaughter, Amy Elizabeth Head.
She is survived by her children, Dr. John Victor Grice and his wife Kitty Jo of Raymore, MO, Elizabeth Ann (Betsy) Head and her husband Jim of Centralia, MO, Mary Lou Hampton and her husband Dave of St. Peters, MO, Nancy Margaret Heimann and her husband Bob of Centralia, MO, and James William (Jimmer) Grice and his wife Amy of Overland Park, KS; her eleven grandchildren, John Lawrence Grice and his wife Rachel of Liberty, MO, Dr. Jared Victor Grice and his wife Jenny of Nashville, TN, Clifford James Head and his wife Kristi of Fulton, MO, Maxwell Aaron Head of Springfield, MO, Joseph Dylan Spray of Kahoka, MO, Dr. Lucy Margaret McGowan of San Luis Obispo, CA, Elizabeth Joan and Mary Christine Heimann of Centralia, MO, and Rachel Fame, William Perry, and Emily Rene’ Grice of Overland Park, KS; and her 6 great granddaughters, Emma Fennel of Fulton, Greta Bea, Jettie Jane, and Olive Ann Grice of Liberty, MO, Claire Elise Mills of Centralia, MO, and Ellory Dare Grice of Nashville, TN.
Services will were held at the Browning United Methodist Church on Saturday, October 15, 2022 with Rev. Arch Phillips and Rev. Sue Lambert officiating. Music was a vocal duet, “It Is Well With My Soul” by John Victor Grice and Nancy Heimann, “Amazing Grace” by the family, and a recorded vocal solo by Mary Grice, “Oh Holy Night.” Interment was in Jenkins Cemetery. Schoene- Ruschmeier Funeral Home in Milan handled arrangements.
Memorials may be made to Jenkins Cemetery or the Browning United Methodist Church.