I was saddened this afternoon to receive a call from my father saying that his foster sister, my “Aunt Grace” Lindner had died at the age of 98 in Denver, after years of declining health. My grandparents took Grace in when Dad was a little boy when her parents were no longer able to take care of her (this was in the Depression). She was what we would now call an au pair or “mother’s helper”, but in those days she was the hired girl. She helped raise my dad, being fourteen or fifteen years older, but since he was an only child, he came to think of her as a sister, and my siblings and I always knew her as Aunt Grace.
She and her second husband Bill Lindner had lived in various places in the U.S.–in Phoenix, long before it was stylish; in Juneau, Alaska; in Seattle; and finally in Denver. When I was a kid, I Liked Aunt Grace’s visits, because she was tough on the outside, but with a heart of gold. She used to fly to Omaha to visit the family in Iowa, and my grandparents, while they were still able, and later my Dad would go and pick her up at the airport and then several days later take her back. Until she was into her 80s she and one or another of her old lady friends would go on road trips together.
She never stopped taking care of kids and was always a professional baby sitter. In her later years she was looked after by the parents of the last children she took care of. Those children are now grown (and, of course, I have never met them, only heard Aunt Grace talk about them) but it was that family’s act of charity to take care of an old woman with no one else, just in the same way my grandparents took her when she had no one else.
Rest well, Aunt Grace.