William M. Grace
|Posted 2009-01-23 by Judy Wight Branson|
|The Daily Courier, Prescott, Arizona|
Friday, April 30, 2004
Mr. W. M. (Bill) Grace, age 69, of Houston, Texas, Phoenix, Ariz., and St. Joseph, Mo., died Sunday, April 25, 2004. at a Houston, Texas hospital
William M. (Bill) Grace was Chairman of the Board of W.M. Grace Companies Inc., a Phoenix, Ariz., based firm, involved in commercial general contracting, commercial real estate development, hotel and resort development, and the ownership and management of a land-based riverboat, Native American casinos and greyhound dog and horse racing tracks.
He was born and raised on a farm in Burlington Junction, Mo. After serving in the military, he attended the University of Arizona in Tucson, receiving his BS and later his MBA degree in 1959. He then taught Economics at Arizona State University, while working as a field service engineer for Reynolds Aluminum in Phoenix.
Bill Grace then returned to St. Joseph, Mo., and founded W. M. Grace Construction, Inc. in 1966, and closely thereafter, W. M. Grace Development Co. The year 2004 celebrates the 38th anniversary of these
companies that develop, design, build, manage, and lease shopping centers, office buildings, financial institutions, industrial complexes, housing units, hotels, vacation resorts and casinos.
Operating over a multitude of states, the company moved its corporate offices to Phoenix in 1970, and also has offices in St. Joseph, Mo.
Bill had been active as a Director of the "Arizona Association of Economic Development," receiving the Developer of the Year Award in 1987.
He served as president of the AAED in 1992, and was honored again as the Small Business Member of the Year in 1994.
W. M. Grace Companies was recently listed as the 31st largest privately owned company in Arizona. The company has developed and built over 300 shopping centers, comprising in excess of 30 million square feet, throughout the United States. The company has consistently been listed as one of the top 400 contractors in the United States and is one of the largest developers and owners of commercial real estate in the Southwest.
His company completed many commercial projects in nearly every community in the state. He was significantly proud of his developments in Prescott, in partnership with the Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe relating to the 800,000-square-foot Frontier Village Shopping Center and the 165-room Prescott Resort Conference Center and Casino, the first casino hotel in Arizona.
Mr. Grace was a 38-year member of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), a member of the Phoenix Country Club, Kansas City Club, Sterling Club Las Vegas, Portosima Country Club, St. Joseph Country Club, and was currently serving as Vice President and on the Board of Directors for the International CLL (Chronic Lymphocyte Leukemia) Research Institute, recently incorporated in Houston, Texas.
In St. Joseph, Mo., Mr. Grace actively served on the Board of Directors for Bishop LeBlond High School and was the head of the Building / Construction committee for their new expansion. He was an integral part of the Capital Campaign for this endeavor, as well as a generous contribuitor to the building fund.
He was preceded in death by his father, Harvey A. Grace; his mother, Mary E. (Mclntyre) Grace in March of 1997; his brother, Donald L. Grace in 1995.
Bill and his wife, Ann Kathryn (Kathy) married since 1955, reside in Houston, Texas, St. Joseph, Mo., and Phoenix, Ariz. They have been blessed with two sons and a daughter, Howard Thomas Grace and wife, Barbara, of Phoenix, William Mathew (Matt) Grace and wife, Cathy of Prescott Valley, and Heather Kaiser and husband, James (Jim) of Scottsdale; six grandchildren, Megan and Thomas (Tom) Grace, Kathryn (Katie) and Elizabeth (Lizzie) Kaiser, William Mack, II (Little Mack,) and Lily (Hattie) Grace. He is also survived by two brothers, Darrell Grace and wife, Marilyn of Burlington Junction, Mo.; Weldon Grace and wife, Jennie Lea of Des Moines, Iowa; and sister, Arlene Prater and her husband, John of Hamburg, Iowa.
He will be buried in his original hometown of St. Joseph, Mo., at 1:30 p.m. today, Friday, at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church. Interment is at Memorial Park Cemetery. The family received friends from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday at Meierhoffer Family Funeral Home.
The family suggests memorial contributions be made to the W.M. (Bill) Grace Scholarship Fund at Bishop LeBlond High School, 3529 Frederick Avenue, St. Joseph, Missouri, 64506.
A reception will follow the service at the Benton Club from 3 to 6 p.m. today. In Phoenix, the family will have a Wake Celebration of His Life on Wednesday, May 5, from 2:30 to 5 p.m., at The Cork and Cleaver Restaurant at 5101 North 44th Street, Phoenix, Ariz., 85018.
Information provided by survivors.
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