Davidson, Grace Lillian Lang
Grace Lillian Lang Davidson, 84, of Grinnell, Iowa, passed away Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012. A celebration of life service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Friday, Oct. 26, at Herrick Chapel on the Grinnell College campus with the Rev. John Epperson officiating. Organist will be William Tinker and Gavin Lang will play bagpipes. Casket bearers will be Matthew Davidson, Adam Hicks, Patrick Hicks, Andrew Lantz, Daniel Litwiller, Andrew Molison, Anthony Rostvold and John Waugh. Inurnment will at a later date at Hazelwood Cemetery in Grinnell. Friends may call at the Smith Funeral Home in Grinnell beginning at noon Thursday and the family will be present at the funeral home from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday.
Memorials may be directed to the Mayflower Community, the Grinnell Christian Church or to the First Presbyterian Church of Cedar Rapids and sent in care of the Smith Funeral Home, P.O. Box 368, Grinnell, IA 50112.
She was born Sept. 2, 1928, in Brooklyn, Iowa, to James Russell and Agnes Graham Lang. Grace attended country school (Grant #2) for grades 1 and 2. Then her
family moved to Grinnell, Iowa, where she attended Cooper Elementary School and Grinnell Junior and Senior High Schools, graduating in 1946 as valedictorian.
Grace attended Milligan College near Johnson City, Tenn.; Arthur Jordan Conservatory of Music, Butler University in Indianapolis, Ind.; and Grinnell College. She was a Certified Fund-Raising Executive (CFRE) and graduated from the National Planned Giving Institute, College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va.
She married William Vance Davidson in 1949, and together they had four children. Early in their marriage, they lived in Iowa, Nebraska, Illinois and Pennsylvania, then settled for almost 20 years in Butler, Pa.
During the 1960s, Grace made a conscious decision to devote her career to raising money for and promoting good causes. While teaching music in the public schools of western Pennsylvania, she began to carry out her idealistic decision by working on fundraising campaigns for her church, the YWCA, the National Benevolent Association and the United Way. For a brief time in the 1970s, she returned to her hometown of Grinnell, where she supported the Fine Arts and Alumni departments of Grinnell College.
By the time she moved to St. Louis in 1977 to work for the Metro YWCA, she had become an ardent advocate for the rights of minorities and women. She traveled to Kansas City and Washington, D.C. to march for the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment and worked full-time to raise funds for causes supported by the YWCA.
In 1989, she was invited by the St. Louis ARC to become its first full-time director for financial development and marketing. During her 13 years there, she developed a well-rounded and very successful fundraising program.
In 2002, Grace retired to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where she enjoyed building and decorating her town home and entertaining family and visitors. She moved to Mayflower Community in Grinnell in 2009.
A lifelong Christian, Grace was baptized on Easter in 1941 at Madison Church of Christ in Brooklyn, Iowa. She was an active church member, particularly in the music ministry, wherever she lived. Her church homes included Grinnell Christian Church, North Street Christian Church (Butler, Pa.), Webster Groves Christian Church (St. Louis, Mo.), and First Presbyterian Church (Cedar Rapids, Iowa).
Second only to her faith was Grace’s love of family, immediate and extended, and all things Scottish. She was particularly interested in family history and worked hard to share genealogical information, photos, artifacts and stories with her children and their families. As an accomplished vocalist and French hornist, she also loved music, classical, opera, musical theatre, marching band, symphonic band, big band. In fact, she loved all of the arts, and anyone who visited her home knew her love of visual arts, as her home was an art gallery of sorts. Grace also loved to travel; she was very active and adventurous until her final years.
She is survived by her children, Leslie (Robert) Litwiller of Rochester, Minn., David Davidson of Cedar Rapids, Christine (Clark) Jensen of Ankeny, and Patrice Davidson of Rochester, Minn.; 11 grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; two brothers, Eugene (Deloris) Lang of Grinnell and John (Rosie) Lang of Traer; two sisters, Jane (Donald) Thompson of Grinnell and Carol (Thomas) Shaner of St. Clair Shores, Mich.; and many cousins, nieces, nephews, in-laws and friends.
Grace was preceded in death by her parents, James Russell and Agnes Graham Lang; husband, William Davidson; sister, Kathryn Larsen; brother, James Lang; daughter-in-law, Gloria Walko Davidson; and dear friend, Dr. Bernardo Aleksander.
Published in The Gazette Oct. 23, 2012.