Remembering Our Alumnae
Grace Shack Wilson '45
Born in Panama on July 3,1922, Grace Josephine Shack Wilson (Gracie) was the embodiment of her background- full of love for music, dance, family and fun found in Latin culture. But also she was the child of Depression-era spiritual parents who made their way from NYC to Panama to pursue religious freedom, gainful work and purpose. By the time Gracie left Panama to attend St. Joseph's College in 1940, she had competitively swum in the Pan American Games, learned Spanish and developed considerable dancing skills... But her affinity for martinis, dance and the company of handsome Naval Officers, took her back to Panama when WWII was declared, where she worked as a clerk far from the conflict of war, but near enough in the Canal Zone to fear German submarine attacks and a possible Japanese invasion. There, after rejecting seven marriage proposals, she met the love of her life, LT. Lee Andrew Wilson, who announced instantly upon meeting her that “She is going to be my wife” which she was until he passed 43 years later in June 1990. They moved to Miami in 1948 where they raised seven children in a unique, respectful and fun marriage, while being simultaneously owners of their own aircraft parts business, active in the Catholic faith and in the community. Meanwhile she found time to be a loving wife, daughter and sister - and design fashion, write poems, review books for the Miami Herald, teach swimming and attack cooking, which was the only thing ever to slightly defeat her. All of her children grew up to be accomplished, fun, energetic, witty, moral and loving persons with traits and values they each learned from her and her Lee. As one of her Granddaughters, Reese, said upon Gracie's passing, we celebrate the life of our beautiful Gracie. Her sassy sense of humor, incredible creativity, beauty, intelligence, zingy wit and indomitable spirit. The world is a dimmer and blander place today without her sparkle. May we all love and live life as she did!