Age 91, of Lansing, MI, passed away on November 5, 2018 after a lengthy battle with dementia at Hospice of Lansing – Stoneleigh Residence. Grace was born on October 5, 1927 to Gregorio and Rose (LeVato) Pizzonia of Lansing. She took great pride in her Italian-American heritage, and was an example to all of a strong work ethic, respect for education and love of family. She married Vernon J Andrews on June 13, 1953 after meeting him at Michigan State University while the two were in graduate school working toward their graduate degrees. They built a beautiful life together and celebrated 65 years of marriage. Grace’s greatest joy in life was her family.
After graduating from MSU with bachelor’s and master’s degrees Grace became a teacher in the Lansing school system teaching English at Pattengill Junior High and Lansing Eastern High School. She taught advanced placement courses in literature and advanced composition. She touched many lives in her brief but important career as a teacher. She was a lover of books, poetry, literature and always happy in a library or with a good book. She was smart and witty, warm hearted and gracious. She was passionate about education. Indeed, to earn two MSU degrees was quite an achievement for a young Italian-American woman in the 1940s. She left full time teaching after the births of her two daughters but continued as a substitute teacher for decades at St. Gerard Elementary and Lansing Catholic High School. Grace was involved as president, leader, board member and volunteer in countless organizations including Legal Aid of Central Michigan, Lawyers Wives of Michigan, Bar Auxiliary, St. Lawrence Hospital Angelus League, St. Vincent Home for Children, various book clubs and other organizations. She was a true partner and helpmate to her husband while he was a lawyer in private practice, the Adjutant General of the Michigan National Guard and in all his endeavors.
Grace was a devoted daughter, mother, sister, aunt and Nana, unconditionally loving and loyal to her family. She was predeceased by her beloved daughter Angela Rose, and her sister, Carmela Vadnais, both of whom died too young from breast cancer. Surviving her are her devoted husband, Vernon, her daughter, Andrea Andrews Larkin, son-in-law, Michael Larkin, and her three grandchildren who are her pride and joy, Edward, Theodore (“Ted”) and Grace, her namesake. She is also survived by her close and loving nieces and nephew whom she loved deeply, Celeste Vadnais Barrett (Robert), Gregory Vadnais (Leanne), Gina Vadnais (partner Angela Tsopelas), great-nieces and nephews, Gianna Grace Genovese Nocita (Phil) and Vincent Genovese, Rose Vadnais (Jon Jorgenson) and Greg Vadnais (Christie), great-great-niece, Siena Grace Nocita, and by her 4 great-great-nephews, Mason and Eli Vadnais and Thor and Bjorn Jorgenson.
The family owes a deep debt of gratitude to the caring staff at Stoneleigh Hospice who cared for Grace in the last two years of her life. Grace left all of us a legacy that we devote our time, energy, love, and commitment to family and friends and those whose lives we touch.
The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated by the Rev. Karl Pung at St. Mary Cathedral on 219 Seymour Street in Lansing where Grace was baptized, confirmed, married and attended elementary and high school at 10:00 a.m., Friday, November 9, 2018. There will be a private Rite of Committal at a later date at St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery. The family will receive friends 5-8 p.m., Thursday, November 8 at the Estes-Leadley Greater Lansing Chapel, 325 W. Washtenaw, and at the Cathedral one hour prior to the funeral Mass. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in memory of Grace to The Angela Andrews Rome Scholarship, Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, IN 46556 or to Hospice of Lansing – Stoneleigh Residence.