She was preceded in death by her loving husband of 60 years, Eugene Menge; her brother and sister-in-law Ralph and Celia Laning; her niece Irene Laning Mason; her brother Stephen Lewandowski; her sister J. Florence Laning; and her mother, Milicent Laning. She is survived by her niece, Nancy Laning Sobczak and her husband, Robert F. Sobczak.
Grace was an educator, a property manager, a farmer and a continual student. Grace began her career as a teacher in the Milwaukee Public Schools system after completing the curriculum at Downer Teacher’s College. During her tenure she taught math and art in kindergarten through eighth grade, where many of the students she taught received recognition in the K-8 art competition sponsored by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Grace continued her own education, receiving a Bachelor of Philosophy from Marquette University and a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison while employed in MPS. She also taught millinery at the Milwaukee Area Technical College.
During her teaching career, she participated in running the apartments owned by 2509, Inc., which had residences throughout the city, but began with the Riverwest property at 2509 N. Humboldt Blvd. that was operational for over 100 years by all three generations of the family. She also continued to pursue her interests in upholstery, cake decorating and jewelry design through continuing education.
In her 80s, she was an adjunct professor at Mount Mary College’s historic costume department, where she taught a class in millinery - a rare art. Her artistic abilities were evident not only in her hat making but in her jewelry expertise, as well. Her jewelry accomplishments started early in life with hammered silver work and continued with the creation of numerous precious metal pieces from rings to necklaces with hand-made chains.
During World War II, Grace married Eugene Menge of Fond du Lac. They began their life together in Milwaukee and later moved to Dousman, where the family owned and operated a dairy farm. Her dedication to hard work, along with that of her family members, created a thriving business. Late in life, the couple moved to Racine, where they resided.
The family would like to thank her loyal caregivers, “Tammy” Martinez and Gail Ford, who helped her live her life independently.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 26, 2009, at Church of the Gesu, 1145 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee. Private interment will be held at Holy Cross Cemetery, Milwaukee. Relatives and friends may meet at the church from 10 a.m. Saturday until time of Mass.
Memorials to the Rev. J. Burch S.J. Scholarship Fund at Marquette University P.O. Box 1881, Milwaukee, WI 53201 have been suggested.
Maresh-Meredith and Acklam Funeral Home, 803 Main St., Racine, is serving the family.
Condolences may be sent to www.meredithfuneralhome.com, or, for more information, call (262) 634-7888.