Grace T. Burgess, 95, a resident of Redding, passed away peacefully on September 19th at Norwalk Hospital, following a long illness.
Born in New York City to Jens and Doris Thomsen, Grace lost her father when she was five months old to the flu pandemic of 1918. After four years in Denmark, she and her mother returned to America and Grace was raised in the Broad River section of Norwalk by her mother and stepfather Louis Hansen. She attended Norwalk schools and played both varsity basketball and tennis, but developed what would be a lifelong interest in art. Following graduation she attended the Grand Central School of Art. Her first work was designing wallpaper, and she would briefly work for Esquire magazine.
Grace married James Burgess in 1942 and lived in Norwalk where she raised her three children. She became an avid figure skater, but continued to pursue her interest in art. She studied watercolors with Frederick Whitaker and exhibited her work throughout Fairfield County. She worked as a student researcher at Famous Schools in Westport, even after the family relocated to Redding, a community she grew to love.
In retirement she continued to stay active, volunteering at a soup kitchen in Danbury and at the annual Mark Twain Library Book Fair. She also became a guide at the Lockwood-Matthews Mansion in Norwalk. She was a long-time member of Connecticut Classic Arts and SCAN, as well as the New Canaan Society for the Arts.
Grace also loved traveling and discovery. Her trips took her to Australia, Alaska, Hawaii and throughout Europe, but her passions kept her returning to the Maine seacoast, where she spent many days sailing on the windjammers out of Camden and Rockport.
Following thirteen years in New Canaan, Grace moved back to Redding in 2009 at Meadow Ridge, where she continued to live independently until her health led her to reside in the Health Center there.
Grace was preceded in death by her husband James, who passed in 1982, and her half sister Gladys in 1989. She is survived by her half-sister Ruth of Cupertino CA, and her three children; Karen of Killingworth CT, James of Gainesville VA, and Brian of Norwalk CT, along with her daughter-in-law Elizabeth, also of Norwalk.
Funeral services will be private, with a memorial service to be determined.