Grace B. Fleming

Honored by:Mary Schultz
Brick location:F:11  map

Born October 6, 1912- Died August 27, 1982

Grace Angela Bowen Fleming was the first of three daughters born to Walter and M. Gertrude Bowen on a farm three miles north of Neola, Iowa. When Grace was twelve this farm home was completely destroyed by a terrifying tornado... an event that later would be the source for many stories passed on to her children and grandchildren instilling in each a healthy respect for Mother Nature's fury.

The tornado forced a family move to Omaha where Grace graduated from Central High School in 1931. She then entered the University of Nebraska at Omaha, but her family was experiencing severe financial and health problems. The father had left the family the mother was suffering from a degenerative bone disease of the hip that would cripple her the rest of her life and the sisters Ruth and Wilma still needed to complete their high school educations. Grace chose to drop out of college and financially support her family thus abandoning her dream of a college education.

She found employment as a legal secretary at Hotz Brown and Cozad a prestigious law firm in Omaha. She took great pride in her work and was honored and thrilled when her boss asked her to sit in the select audience while he argued an appeal before the United States Supreme Court... an appeal which she had helped prepare. To her dying day Grace always maintained a keen interest in law. Had the circumstances of her life been different she might have been the attorney presenting oral arguments before the United States Supreme Court.

As a young girl Grace had spent several summers staying in Traer, Iowa, with her grandmother Hepzibeth Howard. During one of those trips she caught the eye of Logan Martin Fleming a local farm boy.

Unlike Grace Logan was the youngest sibling. Logan's parents elderly and in poor health depended on him since their three older sons had left the family farm and had families of their own.

Commitment, love and devotion were put to the test by Grace and Logan as they maintained a long distance courtship over a span of ten years. Almost every weekend Logan made the 600 mile round trip from Traer to Omaha in his Dodge sedan. Family responsibly was the force uniting them but it also was the force keeping them apart.

Finally on April 20, 1941, after the deaths of his parents Grace and Logan were married and began living in Traer. By 1946, they had added three children - Bill Mary and Dave - to their household as well as Grace's mother.

Hardship and disappointment found this family again however when Logan contracted polio suffering paralysis from his waist down. After a lengthy hospital stay many Sister Kenney Treatments and rehabilitation Logan regained body use and returned home. In between changing diapers and assisting her crippled mother Grace also learned to administer Sister Kenney Treatments to Logan.

After her children entered school Grace returned to employment outside the home spending the last 22 years of her life in the business office at Gethmann Construction Gladbrook Iowa. She died suddenly of a heart attack as she was seated at the typewriter. She was only 69.

Grace's life had never been easy. It seemed she was always struggling to make ends meet for her family. This 5'2" woman had worked constantly even contracting to detassel corn before and after her normal work schedule at Gethmann's as well as awakening at 3 a.m. on Sundays to deliver her own rural Des Moines Register route. She put Bill and Mary through college and saw Dave achieve status within the U.A.W. at Marshalltown.

As a young girl she had been selected by the Neola Grade School to be its representative to the State Spelling Bee. As an adult Grace was proud to know how dependent her employers were on her spelling and grammar prowess. Her children quickly came to realize that if a classroom report received her approval it was a sure "A".

Grace lived vicariously through the lives of her children and grandchildren - Jeff Jim and Jennifer Fleming and Chris Kurt and Rob Van Doren. Their dreams became her dreams. Her greatest endowments to them were her example of commitment to family a constant quest for education and excellence and the ability to persevere without complaint.

She lived her life with grace. Now she's resting with the angels.