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Grace A. Casey

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Cultural Leader

Gilmanton Iron Works, NH-----Grace A. Casey, 90, of 16 Old Town Road, died at the Genesis Eldercare Network–Laconia Center on Monday, May 28, 2007 with her daughter at her side.

Grace was born March 13, 1917 in Lowell, Massachusetts, the daughter of Charles W. Barton and Minnie Eta Gill.  She lived in Billerica, Massachusetts for several years before moving to Gilmanton Iron Works fifty-six years ago. 

She was Executive Director of the New Hampshire Art Association for sixteen years before retiring in 1982.  She was a member of the Gilmanton Community Church, Eastern Star, NHAA, Currier Museum of Art and the New Hampshire Historical Society.  She attended Cushing Academy and the Minneapolis School of Design.

A vital cultural force in New Hampshire for decades dedicated to improving lives through art and cultural pursuits.  She served on the New Hampshire Commission on the Arts, as Director of the New Hampshire Art Association and co-founded the Prescott Park Arts Festival in Portsmouth which has operated for thirty-two years.  Her multi-arts concept was to integrate visual arts, music, theatre and dance.  Her children’s visual arts classes were of special importance to her.  She raised money and her plans are in place for her visual arts program to go on at the Sheafe Warehouse at Prescott Park this summer starting with an opening on June 21, 2007 at 5:30PM.  The 2007 Prescott Park Art Festival will be dedicated to her memory.

Grace created and directed the New Hampshire Heritage Forum and Antiques Show in Concord in the 1960’s.  This created a first-in-the-nation educational concept of bringing organizations together and she got Gov. John King to declare Heritage Week to honor people who contributed to our heritage.  She was awarded the Governor’s Patron of the Arts Award during Gov. Jeanne Shaheen’s Administration.  Gov. Shaheen always supported her programs, often attending events.

Grace served as President and Cultural Chair of the New Hampshire, Ceara/ Brazil Chapter of Partners of the America’s program and traveled to Brazil five times on exchange projects.  Once she was accompanied by First Lady, Irene Gallen, to support the program. Grace made a lasting difference to many people’s lives and her vision, people skills and persistence was what made her successful.

Survivors include a son, LTC Peter J. Casey, USA (Ret.) of Gilmanton Iron Works, New Hampshire; a daughter and son-law, JoAnn and Carl Brown, of Strafford, New Hampshire; five grandchildren, Suzanne Brown and Carl J. Brown, both of Strafford, New Hampshire, Seth J. Casey of Las Vegas, Nevada, Jackie Casey of Nashua, New Hampshire and Jill Figueroa of Tucson, Arizona; one great grandchild, Jordan J. Casey, of Las Vegas, Nevada and a brother, Gardner Gill, of Lowell, Massachusetts.

There will be no calling hours.

A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, June 9, 2007 at 2:00PM at the Gilmanton Community Church, Rte 140, Gilmanton Iron Works, NH.  Rev. Linda Bolton, Pastor of the Church, will officiate.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Gilmanton Community Church, P O. Box 6, Gilmanton Iron Works, NH 03837 or to the New Hampshire Art Association, 136 State Street, Portsmouth, NH 03801.

Wilkinson-Beane Funeral Home & Cremation Services, 164 Pleasant Street, Laconia, New Hampshire is in charge of the arrangements. 

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