Obituaries & Condolences
Grace Helene Piro
Birth date: February 20, 1926
Death date: March 3, 2012
Grace Helene Piro, 86, an Iowa City resident since 1952, passed away peacefully on Saturday afternoon, March 3, 2012 at Mercy Hospice with family at her bedside. Grace was the beloved wife of the late H.W. “Whitey” Piro for 64 years until he passed away on April 18, 2011.
A Service of Remembrance and Celebration will be held Thursday noon, March 8 at the First Presbyterian Church, Iowa City, with Reverend Sam Massey officiating. A visitation is scheduled for Wednesday evening from 4:00-7:00 p.m. at Lensing Funeral Home at 605 Kirkwood Avenue in Iowa City. Following the funeral her body will be donated to the University of Iowa for Research and Education with future burial at the Oakland Cemetery family gravesite.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be directed to The First Presbyterian Church, 2701 Rochester Avenue, Iowa City, IA. 52245, the Mercy Hospital Foundation, 500 East Market Street, Iowa City, IA. 52245 or to the Hancher Auditorium Building Fund at the UI Foundation, One West Park Road, Iowa City, IA. 52242.
Grace was born on February 20, 1926 in Brooklyn, New York to John and Sophia Clark. She grew up in Floral Park, Long Island, New York and graduated from Sewanhaka High School in 1943 where she was an Honor Society member, Class President for three years, earned several Scholarship & Leadership awards and was active in the performing arts. An accomplished singer and entertainer, she toured with two classmates in the “Connie, Grace and Jean Trio” in a 1944 stateside USO Tour. Grace then worked as a Junior Executive at James McCreery Department store and attended New York University until she married Whitey on June 20, 1947 at the Methodist Church in Floral Park.
They lived in Charleston, SC and Salt Lake City, UT before arriving in Iowa City, IA in 1952 when Whitey joined the UI Football Coaching Staff. Grace embraced Iowa City which became a permanent home where she proudly raised her family. She was a loyal daughter, devoted and faithful wife and unconditionally loved, protected and nurtured her four boys. Her daughters-in-law and two grandchildren were absolute joys. Grace was widely known throughout the community for her kindness, care and genuine concern for friends and neighbors.
From 1965-1975 Grace worked part time for the UI Registrar’s Office, the UI Cancer Registry and the UI Graduate College as a thesis checker. In 1975 she started as a clerk in the UI Business & Liberal Arts Placement Office where she interacted with both students and corporate recruiters. Grace eventually retired in 1989 as a Recruitment Coordinator. She thoroughly enjoyed helping students prepare resumes, research companies, hone their interview techniques and present themselves in a confident, professional manner. Numerous UI graduates have mentioned to the family, with much gratitude, that “Your Mom helped me get my first job.”
Grace joined the First Presbyterian Church on November 6, 1955 and she energetically served as an Elder, Deacon, Sunday School teacher and on several important committees. She was active for many years in the Iowa City Booster Club helping coordinate activities like Pancake Day, Stadium Clean Up and recognition banquets. Grace was a Cub Scouts leader, served on the Babe Ruth Boys Baseball Board, the Longfellow Grade School PTA, and the City High School Parent Advisory Board. She was a KZ Chapter P.E.O. Sister for more than fifty years and was a lively member of Town Club, Dance Club and various bridge groups from the 1950’s through the 1980’s. In summers of 1964 and 1965 Grace was the Assistant Director of the Boelter Camps in Annandale, Minnesota.
For many years Grace devoted compassion, leadership and hard work to the Johnson County NAMI garage sale fundraiser. In retirement years Grace and Whitey enjoyed golf and friendship at Fairview, evenings at Hancher Auditorium and looked forward to their annual winter getaways to Perdido Key on the Florida Panhandle. She was also a longtime member of the I-Club and the Presidents Club at the UI Foundation.
Her proudest civic involvement was helping spearhead the 1976 community wide retirement celebration honoring the late legendary pediatrician Dr. Loraine Frost at the City Park.
Grace is survived by her four sons and two grandchildren; Steve (Karen) and their children Allison and Blake of Plano, Texas, John of Iowa City, Doug (Susanna) of Dallas, Texas and Andy of Iowa City. Besides her husband Whitey, Grace was preceded in death by her parents and older brothers John and Ted. She tragically lost her mother at the young age of fourteen, had her father live with her family for more than forty years, and truly admired her talented and protective brothers.
The family would like to thank Dr. Craig Champion and his Towncrest Internal Medicine staff for their tremendous care of Grace. It would also like to thank Mercy Hospital, IC Rehabilitation and Health Care, Mercy Hospice, the ever dedicated and dependable Joyce Aron, Home Instead Caregivers, her loyal and supportive coffee girlfriends, countless PEO Sisters and the absolutely wonderful South Governor Street neighbors for their kindness and care.
Online condolences may be sent to www.lensingfuneral.com
In lieu of flowers memorials may be directed to First Presbyterian Church, 2701 Rochester Avenue, Iowa City, IA 52245, Mercy Hospital Foundation, 500 E. Market, Iowa City, IA 52245 or to the Hancher Building Fund c/o The University of Iowa Foundation, 1 West Park Rd, Iowa City, IA 52242.
4:00 pm to 7:00 pm on Wednesday, March 7, 2012 at Lensing Funeral & Cremation Service - Iowa City 605 Kirkwood Avenue, P.O. 167 Iowa City Iowa 52244 (map/driving directions)
12:00 pm on Thursday, March 8, 2012 at First Presbyterian Church 2701 Rochester Avenue Iowa City Iowa 52245 (map/driving directions)
Burial will be at a later Date
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