Elizabeth “Betty Lou” Leslie Grady, 90, died peacefully Wednesday, February 25, 2015, in the company of her children.
Born on January 6, 1925 in Los Angeles, California, she was the only child of William Alexander Leslie and Margaret Ransford Leslie. In her youth, she moved with her family to New Canaan, Connecticut. She attended the College of New Rochelle, New Rochelle, NY where she developed her passion for art and design. Upon graduating she moved to Manhattan to work for Lord & Taylor. While in New York she met her husband, Henry Jefferson Grady Sr. After their marriage in 1949, she and Henry made their home in Raleigh, N.C.
A mother of five, Betty assured that each of her children’s varied interests blossomed, spending many hours in transit between swim team, tennis, horseback, ballet and piano lessons. Always focused on the arts, and full of enthusiasm and dedication to her community and to her friends. She developed many life-long friendships through her affiliations with the organizations which she helped to create for generations to come - including the Raleigh Fine Arts, the Town and Country Garden Club and the docent and volunteer organizations at the North Carolina Museum of Art.
Betty cherished her friendship with Mrs. Pota Vallas, as they worked side-by-side to build a thriving drapery business which grew into the landmark home interiors store, National Art Interiors. She designed the interiors of many beautiful homes in the Raleigh area.
As devout Catholics, Betty and Henry were dedicated to the growth and support of the Roman Catholic faith community, and participated actively in the planning, building and support of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Cathedral School, Cardinal Gibbons High School and Sacred Heart Cathedral. She and Henry frequently vacationed at their summer cottage in Atlantic Beach, N.C., a treasured place for both of them. Their family enjoyed many friendships and time spent golfing and swimming at the Raleigh Country Club.
Betty was preceded in death by her husband, Henry Jefferson Grady, Sr. She is survived by her children: Noël Grady-Smith and her husband Frank Smith, Henry “Hank” Jefferson Grady Jr., and his wife Gail, Mary Norkus, and her husband Joseph, Janet Grady and her husband Bruno Andreades, Diane Dickson, and her husband Ross; step-daughter, Jeffrie Ann Moore and husband Hazel Moore.
Grandchildren: Dakota Brown, Mary Christine Parks and her husband Nicholas Parks, Keely Finn and her husband Raymond Finn, Benjamin Smith; Ashley and Henry “Trey” Jefferson Grady III; Joseph Norkus and his wife Susan Moser Norkus, Elizabeth and Katherine Norkus; Sarah and Margaret Dickson. Great-Grandchildren: Caitlyn and Charles Parks.
Betty’s friends know how much she loved them. She was a devoted and thoughtful conversationalist and always kept in touch with friends from across the globe. The Grady family will forever be indebted for the kindness and love of three generations of the Jones family, Julianita, Deborah and Brittany of Clayton, NC and of Lula Brake of Raleigh, NC.
A Visitation and Holy Rosary will be held tonight from 6 – 8 p.m. at Brown- Wynne Funeral Home, 1701 East Millbrook Road, Raleigh, NC. A funeral mass will be held on Saturday, February 28th at 11:00 a.m. at Sacred Heart Cathedral Catholic Church in Raleigh, NC, with a reception immediately following at Betty’s residence at The Oaks at Whitaker Glen, 501 East Whitaker Mill Road, the atrium of Bldg. A, Raleigh, NC 27608.
Flowers are welcome or memorials may be made to Transitions LifeCare, 250 Hospice Circle, Raleigh, North Carolina 27607. On-line condolences may sent to the family at www.brownwynnemillbrook.com