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Grace Flanders


Grace Allen Flanders, age 96, died peacefully on Monday, March 4, 2013.

Grace was the eldest of two children born to Adna and Madeline Morris on August 1, 1916 in New York City. She grew up in the Bronx.

As a young woman Grace attended the Holy Comforter Lutheran Church on Woodycrest Avenue in the Bronx. One Sunday, the minister’s son, a fine young man named Clifford Flanders, asked her out. Their first date, to the Russian Tea Room on 150 West 57th Street, was followed by many others and ultimately the couple married on May 29, 1938 at the same church where they met. After a honeymoon in Washington, D.C. the happy newlyweds settled in Raleigh, NC so that Cliff could pursue his doctorate from North Carolina State University. While living there, Grace and Cliff welcomed their firstborn child – a daughter named Edith. Soon after her birth, this family of three moved to Louisville, KY so that Cliff could continue his education at the University of Louisville. While there, Grace gave birth to their second child – another little girl which they named Grace. Mom and the children followed Dad one more time, this time to Morgantown, WV where Cliff finished the pursuit of his doctorate at the University of West Virginia. While there, Grace and Cliff welcomed two more children - a baby girl that they named Ruth and a baby boy which they named Clifford.

Following Cliff’s graduation, the family moved north again and settled in Packanack Lake – a place they would call home for 45 years. Grace began to attend Paterson State College (now called William Paterson University) in pursuit of her bachelor of arts degree in education. With the added responsibility of raising her four dear children, the quest for higher education had its challenges but Grace ultimately did receive her degree and soon settled into a long and rewarding career with the Montville Schools. In the early part of her career she taught at the elementary level, but when her husband Cliff’s work necessitated a move to Ohio for a year, Grace attended classes at Ohio State University and received her master’s degree. When she returned to the Montville Schools she rounded out her twenty-year career teaching at the high school level before retiring in 1982. While there, she especially enjoyed being involved in teaching the students drama.

Along with Cliff, Grace enjoyed a wonderful retirement traveling all over the world together. What made it especially wonderful was that Cliff always did all the preparations right down to packing Grace’s suitcase!

Grace had an unquenchable thirst for knowledge! She loved to read books from a wide range of genres and authors and seldom found a book she didn’t like. Throughout the years, she was a member and often times, a discussion leader of many book clubs.

One book that Grace could often be seen reading was her Holy Bible. A woman of great faith in God, she also led many Bible discussions throughout her life, most recently at Crane’s Mill Retirement Community in West Caldwell which she called home since 1998. Grace was a founding and charter member of St. Timothy Lutheran Church on Valley Road in Wayne. The church actually got started in Grace and Cliff’s house on Beechwood Drive in Packanack Lake in the late 1950’s!

Because of Grace’s love for theater and drama she often enjoyed watching Masterpiece Theater on Sunday nights. She often felt a pull back to her childhood roots in New York City and she would frequently take trips there to see Broadway shows and visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Grace was also known to wear out many a deck of cards playing solitaire and should seldom missed watching Wheel of Fortune or Jeopardy.

Surviving are her three daughters: Edith Lambert (William) of Middleville, NJ, Grace Schmeelcke (Robert) of Salem, SC, and Ruth Williams (Donald) of Burke, VA; her one son Clifford A. Flanders (David Taylor) of New York City; her five grandchildren: William Lambert, Matthew Lambert, Kristen Ittig, Rob Schmeelcke, and Jessie English; and three great-grandchildren: Thomas, Brock and Ainsley. She was predeceased by her beloved husband Clifford in 1999.

Friends may visit with the family at the Vander May Wayne Colonial Funeral Home, 567 Ratzer Road, Wayne, on Sunday, March 10, 2013 from 2-5 PM.

Funeral Services will be held on Monday, March 11, 2013, 10:00 AM at St. Timothy Lutheran Church, 395 Valley Road, Wayne. Interment will follow at Hillside Cemetery, Lyndhurst.

In lieu of flowers, as expressions of sympathy, if friends so wish, donations may be made in Grace’s memory to St. Timothy Lutheran Church.

Guest Book


You will be in our thoughts and prayers as you spend time remembering over the weekend together. May the family time be a source of strength to all of you as you go through this end of an era. I remember Mrs. Flanders making grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup...and I have to admit, I was petrified that I would do something that she didn't like when I was at your house. But, we had many, many good times growing up together, Ruth and to you all. Sorry I will not be able to see you this weekend, but Peggi will stop by..and we will be thinking of you and wishing you peace and good memories.

Betti Keutgen Abbas


Grace: May the love and guidance your mother gave you growing up substain you at this difficult time.

Edie & Liz Byrne


This lovely obituary was so well written and chronicled a life well-lived.

Margaret Urey


The world will seem smaller without Aunt Grace. My earliest memory of her is when we visited her in West Virginia. A girl from the Bronx living in WV, who's have thunk it! Then all the summer visits to the Packanack house, I can never for get those. Thanks to Uncle Cliff's love of taking movies some are even recorded so we can relive those days. I am thankful she and my mother, her sister, made their peace before my mother died. They had some rough years but in the end they remained sisters, the daughters of Ad and Madeline. They should have written a book about their growing up years in the Bronx. Their Dad was a building super, and a night watchman at the Taft Hotel. With his stories and theirs they'd have had a best seller. Grace is now walking streets of gold with her sister Edith, and their cousins Paula and Ed following along. Their grandmother Marie was there to meet them all. Farewell Aunt Grace, the curtain has come down on a very long performance. I was blessed to be your niece. Elizabeth Olmstead McBride

Elizabeth McBride


Although we are greatly saddened by the loss of Grace it brings to mind all of the good times we were lucky enough to share. That sense of humor, quick whit and individual personality will always hold a special place in our treasure trove of memories. All of the kids, big and little will always remember all of the great summer house performances and how much she enjoyed them. Sending big hugs to you all. So sorry we can not be there. You are in our thoughts and prayers this day and always.

Claire and Richard Lambert


Just a note to let you know I'm thinking of you and your family at this difficult time. May you find comfort in all the memories you shared over the years. May peace be with you.

Bonnie Grear


Just thinking of Nana brings a smile to my face. She would beat me at cards every time, but I kept coming back for more abuse... "Are you stillll reading that book", she would say. What a force of nature she was, she will truly be missed. All of our fond memories will keep her alive in our souls. Love, Stacy

Stacy Contakos


Our thoughts and prayers are With all of your family---we have so many wonderful memories of AUNT GRACE and the wonderful family---- we would love to keep in touch with all of you----please send us your addresses as we compliy a family newsletter every year --- BLESSINGS TO ALL DOT AND BUD

pastor bud and dot walck

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