Grace Ann DeRycke, 87, of Victor, died Monday, June 24, 2019, at Belle Plaine Specialty Care. A funeral Mass is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Thursday, June 27, at St. Bridget Catholic Church in Victor with the Rev. Ross Epping of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Grinnell officiating. Burial will be in Calvary Cemetery in Victor. Visitation with the DeRycke family present will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at Smith Funeral Home in Victor. Memorial contributions may be designated to Essence of Life Hospice in Marengo or St. Bridget Catholic Church.
Grace was born July 1, 1931, in Cascade, Iowa, the daughter of Ralph and Mae O'Connell Gearhart. She was raised in Cascade and attended school there. Following school, she moved to Cedar Rapids where she was employed as a hotel elevator operator for a short while and then later as a telephone operator for "Ma Bell." While in Cedar Rapids, she played on the Quaker Oats basketball and softball teams with a few of her sisters as teammates.
On Feb. 27, 1965, she was united in marriage to John DeRycke at St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Cedar Rapids. The couple lived on a farm near Victor and for many years she helped on the farm and raised her family. She was an active member of St. Bridget Catholic Church and the Altar and Rosary Society through the church. She was also a member of the Victor American Legion Auxiliary.
Grace was very loving and devoted to her family. Her family and faith were very important to her. She loved all children and enjoyed giving out candy treats as a kind gesture. She never knew a stranger! As an avid and longtime fan of the New York Yankees attending the 1957 World Series was a highlight! She enjoyed traveling throughout the United States, including Alaska and abroad to Europe twice. Grace was a very good cook and enjoyed collecting cookbooks. She held a passion for Polka music, cheering for the Iowa State Cyclones, and she loved going to the casino.
Grace is survived by her husband, John of Victor; two children, Sharon (Bryan) Lenz of Bettendorf and Mike (Mary) DeRycke of Victor; four grandchildren, Austin Lenz, Kenneth Lenz, Andrew (Brandi) Longfellow and Greg Longfellow; two great-grandchildren, Austin and Presley; and four sisters, Velma Loeffler of Cedar Rapids, Jean Murtha of Victor, Pat Enneking of Marion and Ruth Gearhart of Cedar Rapids.
She was preceded in death by her parents; three brothers, Al, Ralph "Junie" and Chuck Gearhart; and three sisters, Mary Margaret Baseman, Dorothy Tipton and Sharon Gearhart.