Katherine Mae Gracey
1929 – October 2, 2017
It is with deep sadness that the family of Katherine (Mae )Gracey announces that she died peacefully on October 2, 2017 after a long struggle with Alzheimers disease. She was 88.
Mae was born in Angusville Manitoba in 1929. Her family moved to Grenfell Saskatchewan when she was a child where she lived until she moved to Toronto to attend college.
From an early age, Mae had a strong spiritual connection to Christianity. It was while she was studying to be a deaconess that she met her future husband Robert (Bob), Gracey. When Bob completed his studies Mae and Bob moved to Bella Coola BC. They worked together as United Church missionaries and were very involved with the people and culture there.
Mae enjoyed an active life in Bella Coola, making many friends, joining the woman’s basketball team and creating a woman’s CGIT group consisting of both native and non-native women. It was the custom of the Native Band to give the Pastor and wife native names. Mae’s given name was “Esquteenoot”. Translated in English this means “someone who welcomes all”. The First Nations people could not have described Mae more accurately. She was the most accepting, non-judgemental person anyone would have the pleasure of meeting. She was equally comfortable talking to Christian pastors, politicians, or marginalized peoples struggling with a myriad of troubles.
Mae and Bob had 2 children while in Bella Coola, Beth and John. It was shortly after John’s birth that Mae and the family moved to Nanaimo where Bob accepted a position as pastor at Brecken United Church.
While living in Nanaimo Mae and Bob adding a third child to their family by adopting an African American child, David who originated from Tacoma, Washington. David’s adoption was typical of Mae’s personality as “someone who welcomes all”.
During her time in Nanaimo, Mae organized another woman’s CGIT group. This group culminated in a 45 year bond that exists to this day and is known as Mae’s Graces.
In 1975 the family moved to Kamloops where Mae worked tirelessly, to bring together various religious denominations to create a new and inclusive religious community. A congregation made up of members from 5 local churches was created and named Plura Hills. (Prespreterian , Luthern, United, Roman Catholic and Anglican).
Mae was the first minister of Plura Hills and was involved in the grass root development, maintenance and growth of the community and oversaw the building that was completed in 1992.
Mae spent her life devoted to human rights and social justice. She also loved the outdoors and cared deeply for the environment.
But Mae’s biggest joy and love was her family and the people she surrounded herself with and thought of as family. These included numerous friends, refugee families that she sponsored through the church and her beloved CGIT “girls”.
Mae received the Governor General Award in 2012 for her work on peace and social justice issues, and the Certificate of Appreciation Award for her dedication to human rights from Kairos Canada in 2013.
She will be deeply missed but always remembered by her family and the many people whose lives she touched so profoundly.
Mae is survived by her husband Bob and her children Beth (Ted, Emily and Zoe) and John (Silvana).
A celebration of life service is being held Saturday, October 14 at Beecher Place in Crescent Beach, 12160 Beecher Street White Rock, at 1:30 PM.
Donations in lieu of flowers can be made to Kairos Canada.