Grace G. Brailer, a native and long time resident of Preston County, died Aug. 21, 2018, in Shelburne, Vt., where she lived the final six years of her life. Grace died after a long struggle with Alz-heimer’s Disease.
Grace Brailer was born March 4, 1925, in Reedsville, to Vernie Lowe and Charles Gaylord Gibson.
She attended Masontown High School, graduating in 1943. She joined the United States Cadet Nurse Corps in 1943 and attended Fairmont General Hospital School of Nursing, where she graduated in 1946 with a diploma in nursing. Grace continued her studies in nursing at Trenton Memorial Hospital and at Case Western Reserve, and completed a Bachelor of Science degree in 1980, at age 55.
Grace was a tireless caregiver, clinician and teacher. Her first job as a nurse began in 1946 at Kercheval Memorial Hospital in Kingwood. She then worked for the Preston County Health Department and also studied obstetric nursing in Trenton, N.J., and in Cleveland. Grace started the nursing assistant program at Preston County Educational Center in 1971, and taught there for 17 years until her retirement. In a 2006 memoir, Grace wrote of her time at the Preston County Education Center, “I so loved those students and so loved my job; it was a pleasure to get up and go to work.” She was recognized as Preston County Teacher of the Year by Gov. Arch Moore, and Gov. Joe Manchin named her a Distinguished West Virginian in 2005.
Grace was active in the community throughout her life. She was a member of St. Sebastian Catholic Church in Kingwood for decades, where she was a member of the Altar Society, sang in the choir and was a Eucharistic Minister. She was a founding member of the Society for Preservation of McGrew House in 1993 and was active in restoring the house and developing it into a community resource. She served on the Board of Trustees of Preston Memorial Hospital for two decades. She also volunteered with the American Red Cross and Hospice. Music, particularly piano and singing, was a passion for Grace throughout her life. She loved to play card games, travel and had a distinctive and contagious laugh especially when socializing with her friends, the Red Hat Ladies.
Grace is survived by four children, Denise Dumm, of Kingwood, Daniel Brailer, of Wexford, Pa., David Brailer, of San Francisco, and Melissa Goldberg, of Milton, Vt. She has 12 grandchildren ranging from 10-44 years of age.
She was preceded in death by her first husband Dennis “Bud” Zinn in 1950; and her husband of 45 years, Ambrose Brailer, in 2001.
Grace’s family will receive visitors at Rotruck-Lobb Kingwood Chapel, 295 South Price St., from 4-7 p.m. Friday with a prayer vigil at 7 p.m. to conclude the visitation. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Sebastian Catholic Church, 322 East Main St., Kingwood, at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 1, with Father Andy Switzer as celebrant. Interment will follow at Maplewood Cemetery, in Kingwood.
The family grieves Grace’s loss alongside the many people whose lives she touched, and send their grateful thanks to the many people who made her life happy and fulfilling. They particularly recognize the caring and devoted staff at the Residences at Shelburne Bay, where she spent her final years.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Society for Preservation of McGrew House, P.O. Box 342, Kingwood, WV 26537, mcgrew house.org or to the Preston County Humane Society, P.O. Box 395, Kingwood, WV 26537, prestoncounty humanesociety.org.