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Lifetime Sandyite devoted decades to Meals on Wheels, Lutheran Church efforts

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - Grace Reich will celebrate her 100th birthday with a party on Jan. 13.When Grace Reich (Wewer) was born, her family's homestead wasn't even located within what was considered Sandy's city limits, but the family is of great historical importance to the town. On Jan. 10, Grace will turn 100. Other than a short stint in Portland, she lived most of those in Sandy.

Reich Court in residential Sandy was named for her family, which settled in Sandy before the turn of the 20th century.

So far, Grace said, life has been pretty good.

"I had a place to live. We started with 80 acres and ended up with 320 acres," she said.

Grateful for the space to roam, she often helped out on the homestead despite not being too fond of milking cows.

One of two children — her sister passed away at a young age — Grace married Emil Reich in 1940 when she was 21, which she noted was pretty late for the times.

"At that time in my high school graduating class, a lot got married in their teens," Grace said. "Now it's a lot different."

She was married to Emil, who was a pipefitter and welder in downtown Portland, for 63 years until his death.

When the couple realized they couldn't have children, they fostered and adopted three children — Joan, Debbie and Gary — from Oregon Boys and Girls Aid.

Grace is happy and proud to say her "kids felt they belonged to the family."

Though most of her life she was a stay-at-home mother and homemaker, she did spend a few years of the 1940s working part-time at Jantzen Knitting Mills in Portland.

"Things were really rough at that time," she noted.

Aside from her short career at the mills, Grace also volunteered extensively in her community.

Through her involvement with the Immanuel Lutheran Church, Grace was the editor of the LW Mell, a newsletter for the church at large, and acted as the Sandy church's secretary for 24 years, from 1971 to 1995. She also coordinated Meals on Wheels for 32 years, right up until she was 97.

"She volunteered for anything there was to volunteer for," her daughter Joan Reich said.

"It was nice to call the people and keep in contact," Grace added. "I met a lot of nice people."

In the near-century Grace has lived in Sandy, a lot has changed, but she's remained unfazed.

"It didn't bother me really," Grace said. "I just knew that we were growing and changing. I just didn't realize how far Sandy has stretched."

In 2001, Grace was named queen of the Sandy Mountain Festival, and she is a member emeritus of the Sandy Historical Society Board.

From noon to 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 13, Joan Reich will host a birthday party at Immanuel Lutheran Church, 39901 Pleasant St., Sandy. Those who are friends of the family are welcome to attend.


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