A memorial service for former Santa Barbara resident Grace Ethel Treece Skubiz will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 6, in the Netzer Center of Solvang Friendship House, 880 Friendship Lane in the Santa Ynez Valley.
Grace was born Aug. 27, 1919, in St. Louis, Missouri, and died of natural causes on April 27, 2012, at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital at the age of 92 with her daughter, son and two grandchildren at her bedside. She had been a resident of Friendship House since July 2010.
After graduation from high school in St. Louis, she worked as a legal secretary until her marriage to John J. Skubiz on Nov. 20, 1940, in St. Louis. On the same day, her sister Dorothy married Charles Brew and the two couples had a joint wedding reception that featured wine made for the occasion by her husband’s father. The two sisters lived together with their mother and infant daughters while their husbands served in World War II.
Then the two families moved to the suburbs of Chicago, where the husbands combined with their father-in-law, Ben Treece, to create Monarch Hardwood Lumber. The two families remained very close and never missed an opportunity to celebrate together. In months without an occasion, they created the “unbirthday party” so they could get together anyway.
Grace was a devoted wife and mother who supported the family business and never missed the chance to entertain customers and friends at Chicago sporting events, especially Bears football games and the horse races at Arlington Park. She and her husband traveled worldwide, including Europe, Asia and the Americas, often on lumber business. During conventions of the National Hardwood Lumber Association, she would organize and frequently win putting contests among the wives while the husbands played golf. She kept her favorite putter until she died.
Until the end of her life she enjoyed watching football, basketball and other sports on television, especially horse racing. While watching the ponies, she made bets in her head, kept track of her “winnings” and gave an accounting to family members. She was an avid and expert bridge player throughout her life, and loved all card games. She believed any game was more fun if there was at least a little money at stake, and she won far more than she lost.
The family moved to the northern Chicago suburb of Glenview in 1949 and while raising her family there, she was a Girl Scout leader, member of the garden club and the Daughters of the American Revolution, and a very active member of Glenview Community Church, where she was a deacon and taught confirmation classes.
Grace and her husband loved to dance, and they often cleared the dance floor as other people stopped to watch them. She marked every occasion with a generous, serious gift for the guest of honor but was also famous in the family for giving goofy ones as well, to make everyone laugh.
In the 1960s, she and her husband and a group of Chicago friends bought desert land outside of Tucson and eventually developed Oro Valley Golf Course along with a country club and homes.
They moved to Oro Valley permanently in the 1980s and spent many happy years there. After her husband’s death, she moved to Vista del Monte Retirement Community in Santa Barbara, California, to be closer to her daughter.
She is survived by her daughter, Carol Ann (Casey) Bemis, and husband David of Santa Ynez, California; son John J. Skubiz Jr. and wife Chris of Steamboat Springs, Colorado; grandchildren Scott Savidge and wife Kathy Bresslin of Goleta, Beth Savidge and husband Cliff Stewart of Davis, California, and Anna and Zachary Skubiz of Steamboat Springs; great-grandchildren Ashlyn and Kaelyn Savidge of Davis; and sister Dorothy Brew of Glenview, Illinois.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her name to any charity.