Thelma Grace Wells Pardy was a loving a generous women who devoted her life the caring for others — her husband, her boys, her extended family members, and her many friends and neighbors.
Grace was born Oct. 17, 1928, in Bonavista, Newfoundland, to Norman and Myrtle Wells, and spent her childhood doing the chores a Newfoundland lifestyle required. After high school, she taught all grades in a one-room schoolhouse before moving to Toronto and then Boston, where she worked as a teletype operator. It was in Boston that she met Frank Pardy, also of Newfoundland heritage, and on Dec. 12, 1952, they married.
Frank was a lineman with dreams of Alaska, so it wasn’t long before the newlyweds drove across the continent to Fairbanks. Grace was pregnant when Frank got a good job that took him up north for two months. Determined not to have her firstborn alone, Grace flew to her sister’s in Niagara Falls, Canada, where her son Glen was born. Frank joined them when his job ended, and moved the family back to Boston.
In 1956 they returned to Fairbanks where their son John was born, followed a year and a half later by their son, Jeffery.
Grace was a wonderful homemaker. She kept an immaculate home and bore the responsibility of raising her boys while Frank worked in far-flung parts of Alaska, sometimes gone for months. In September 1961, Grace became a United States citizen — although she never lost her Newfoundland roots.
Grace was home alone with her boys in August 1967, when Fairbanks experienced a massive flood. She successfully evacuated her boys to safety, while Frank tried to get back to his family. They lost nearly all their material belongings. With winter approaching, they realized they could not stay in a house with wet insulation, and moved back east.
The next four years the family lived in New Hampshire, until once again the call of Alaska lured them back to Fairbanks, where they lived for another 20 years, raising their boys — and a huge vegetable garden.
By 1993, Grace and Frank yearned for a warmer climate, so they moved to Brookings, where they lived for 20 years. Frank fished, Grace volunteered at Azalea Park, and they hosted bridge and pinochle tournaments.
As age took its toll, Frank and Grace moved into the Sea View Senior Living Community retirement home in Brookings. By the time Frank passed away in 2013, Alzheimer’s had robbed Grace of much of her memory, protecting her from the grief of losing her husband of 60 years.
Grace’s son Glen was able to bring her to a care facility in Nome, Alaska, where she lived. She continued to decline but she at least had family close by. Grace passed away Sept. 2, 2017. She has been cremated and her ashes will be buried in the family plot in Bonavista, Newfoundland, her life having come full circle.