In Remembrance. Grace Virginia Alley Walsh

REFLECTIONS...On a life well lived and well loved
New York Times Article
A Celebration of Life! and Family
Friends and Family Photo Album
The Girl had style!
Grace's Wedding
Cat Eyes and BEETLE BUG!
In her own words

Photo Thanks to June( Craft ) Israel

Grace Virginia Alley Walsh 

September 17,1933   February 28, 2009



A July 5, 1993 New York Times article entitled “High School Lasts Longer than 4 Years for Many Students” covered disadvantaged students from New York City’s West Side struggling to obtain a diploma.  One student in particular took six years to graduate.  When he picked up his diploma, he thanked his favorite teacher Ms. Walsh for her help.  “She stuck by me,” he said.  “She inspired me to read more.  She’s my hero.”


Grace Virginia Alley Walsh, born September 17, 1933, died February 28, 2009.  The first child of former Burlington, NC, Mayor John H. Alley and wife Grace, she touched the lives of thousands of students in her lifelong career as an educator.  She retired in 2008 after teaching the last 43 years in the New York City school system, with a perfect attendance record.

Grace graduated in the top of her class from Burlington High School, Burlington, NC, in 1951.  In 1955, she obtained a B.A. in Chemistry from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.  She received her Degree of Master of Arts in 1971 from Columbia University, New York.

She believed in education, believed in reading, and had an incredible memory, rattling off facts and figures, birthdays and babies, telephone numbers and every relative in the family tree.

She was passionate about international travel, each year visiting far realms, from China when it first opened to tourists, to the wilds of Africa.  She loved going to Europe, whether repeating visits to major capitals, friends in East Germany, or a classmate near London.  Family and friends could expect her annual postcards listing all the sights she had just seen, and students could expect the barrage of brochures she would bring back to them. 

Grace was a lifelong fan of the theatre and opera.  As a child she listened avidly to opera every Saturday afternoon on radio.  In New York she worked part time as an usher in Broadway and off-Broadway theatres in her quest to see every show.  Her passion for exotic foods led her to join the New York epicurean group, The Gluttons. 

“Amazing Grace,” as she was affectionately called by friends and family, was a true American original who always took the road “less traveled by,” in life as well as in personal style which was often of her own creation.  As much as she enjoyed globetrotting, she loved visiting family more, making an annual circuit of visits to far-flung relatives.  In turn her family came from far and wide to attend her 75th birthday celebration this past September.

She is survived by her husband Victor Clement Walsh, sister Barbara Alley Simon, and a bevy of relatives in Alamance County and throughout the South.


Visitation will be at Lowe Funeral Home, 2205 South Church Street, Burlington on Wednesday evening, March 4th, from 6:00 until 8:00.  Services will be at 2:00pm Thursday at Lowe, followed by a service and interment at Pinehill Cemetery. 

(Obituary written by Barbara Alley Simon)


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"I always carry my diary whenever I travel. One should always have something sensational to read on the train"  Oscar Wilde


"Grace was my mother's stepsister. Even though Papa John died over 30 years ago, Grace always kept up the connection with our family. She made her "pilgimage" South every summer to see us. She loved fresh, Southern vegetables, and we always tried to have a feast when she was here. She always sent us post cards from Europe, and after discovering my boys loved trains, her postcards were always trains or train stations. I am thankful we made the 5-hour trip to see her at her birthday party and again last weekend in hospice. During that last visit, she thrilled us by clearly saying, "Everybody loves me" (in response to having 9 visitors all at once). Grace was truly a unique spirit -- no will will ever forget her and the Grace stories will definitely live on... "
Elizabeth Milam

Website Memorial  designed by Sherry Lynn Bell

A special thanks to Barbara Alley Simon , without whom this site would not be possible