Alma Grace Purol, known by all her friends as Grace, died peacefully in her home with her family at her bedside, on Saturday, February 29, 2020.
Daughter of James and Margaret Sues, Grace was born in Youngstown, Ohio on July 19, 1930. She graduated from Cheney High School and worked for the Youngstown Vindicator (newspaper) until she married Richard (Dick) Purol Sr. in 1951. They had three children: Marilyn Grace, Richard Anthony Jr., and Anne Marie. In 1967 they moved the family from Ohio to Salt Lake City and purchased a home in Holladay, Utah. They lived there together until Dick passed away in 1989. Grace remained in that home until she passed.
Throughout her life, Grace was guided by her strong Catholic faith and devotion to developing the community. She believed deeply in the principles and practice of Catholicism and instilled that faith in her family.
While living in Ohio, Grace became head of the Women’s Society for St. Joseph Church. Her leadership skills were noticed by the parish pastor who asked for her help in organizing his 50th Jubilee anniversary. She was also an active member of the Ohio Confraternity of Christians and Jews as well as Chairwoman of the Catholic Women’s League.
After moving to Salt Lake, Grace became an active member of St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church, serving on the parish council from 1976 - 1978. For more than a decade, she was the Chairwoman of the Fall Festival, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars to support the building of the current church. She was a proud member of the Vincentinos and Golden Club and enjoyed meeting her friends after Mass on Sundays for lunch at Anna’s restaurant.
Grace was a lifelong advocate for the Democratic Party and proudly displayed the Party’s choice of candidates on her front lawn. Utilizing her high school debate team skills, and love for public speaking, she actively lobbied the Utah legislature to ensure seniors on a low income received a tax abatement as long as they were living in their homes.
Grace had an adventurous spirit that led her and Dick around the world, including trips to London, Switzerland, and Japan. Even after his passing she loved to take trips throughout the West. Especially notable was a two week roadtrip in 1994 when “Grandma” took 3 of her grandchildren under the age of 11 (Ian, Colin and Amy) throughout Idaho and Oregon to visit her friends.
Grace was the matriarch of her family. She loved to cook and host memorable dinners filled with stories and laughter. She especially loved the Christmas holidays when her family returned to her home.
Grace leaves behind her children, Marilyn (Tom) Spiegel, Richard (Susie) Purol, and Anne Wood, as well as six grandchildren: Ian (Lindsey) Wood, Colin (Sarah) Wood, Amy Winn, Victoria (Megan Kesey) Purol, Emily (Andrew) Leighton, and Angela Purol, and two great grandchildren: Hudson Wood and Oliver Wood.
A special thanks to Grace’s wonderful caregivers who provided 24 hour care to her for the past 3 1/2 years: Carol, Ellie, Kelly and Jodie. Not only did they assist Grace with her physical needs, they also loved her and created a peaceful environment for her to live her remaining years.
An Irish wake will be on Thursday, March 5th from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm at Starks Funeral Parlor, 3651 South 900 East, Salt Lake City. Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Friday, March 6th, 11:00 am at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church, 1378 Spring Lane, Salt Lake City, Utah, with a lunch to follow. Grace will be laid to rest at the Murray City Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church.