Juanita Grace McCracken
Juanita Grace McCracken April 27, 1949 – January 9, 2020
Grace McCracken, much loved wife, mother, grandmother, friend, and dog lover died January 9, 2020 after a long and heroic struggle with Multiple Sclerosis. Grace was beautiful inside and outside and was ambitious, adventurous, and incredibly talented. For the past 25 years, she also proved to be heroic as she never complained or said an ill-word although she was unable to use her talents as she wished due to her illness.
Grace was an excellent and loving wife and mother as she pursued an active life with her husband, Ken, and later sought to reduce his anxiety as he became her caregiver as well as her spouse. Her two children Carmen and Quinn, learned from her how to be extraordinary human beings, and her young grandchild Helina, will no doubt remember the strength and caring that Grace exemplified.
After her children began school, Grace was hired by her husband to work as a journalist for a weekly newspaper in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. She excelled as a feature writer and photographer and earned many awards from Virginia press organizations. While being a wife, mother, and journalist, she also earned her degree in Journalism from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. She went on to become Vice-President of Communications for a large national bank in Richmond, Virginia.
Grace showed her compassion and strength many times as an Advanced Life Support volunteer for multiple Virginia rescue squads where she also served as a training officer and CPR instructor. She was a charter member of the New Market, Virginia Rescue Squad and the first female member of the Petersburg, Virginia Rescue Squad. She and her husband often worked together as partners, and they had many difficult but worthwhile experiences together helping those who were sick or injured.
While she could, Grace joined her family for many adventures. She took swimming lessons for two years in order to scuba dive with her husband and children. They then became dive buddies for dive drips to the Florida Keys and the Bahamas. It became a family tradition for Grace and her family to bring in the New Year on dive trips to Bimini, Bahamas. With her husband, children, and friends she would cross-country ski in West Virginia and hike in the Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park. She was always ready to embark on an adventure if she could do it with her family.
When the progression of her illness took these activities away from her, Grace took part in conversations about the activities of her family with support and interest. She and her husband began sailing the Puget Sound area when they could since that was something they could do together. Grace couldn’t help sail their boat, but she loved being on the water and seeing her husband and children enjoy themselves along with her.
Grace said her greatest compliment was when her husband told her she “was capable of much love.” Indeed she was capable of giving love, and her family and friends gave it back and will miss her inspiration greatly.
Grace leaves behind on this earth her husband, Ken, two children, Carmen and Quinn, a grandchild, Helina, sisters Barbara and Jeanette, and also nephews and nieces. Preceding her in death was her wonderful mother, Eva, a brother, Billy, and mother-in-law who loved Grace as a daughter, Louise.
Grace’s family appreciates very much the care and compassion given to her by Home Care and Hospice of the Valley and the nurses, cna’s, and doctors at Grand River Hospital. They were wonderful.
For a memorial, please do a kindness for somebody in Grace’s memory and pass it on.
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