Jane Aleece Armstrong Grisham
Birth Date: April 17, 1947
Death Date: January 9, 2018
The Gospel writer John quotes Christ who said: “Everyone who has life and has committed themselves to me in faith, shall not die for ever.”
Today we celebrate Jane Aleece Armstrong Grisham who lived such a life. A devoted wife, mother, grandmother and sister, Jane was a true reflection of God’s Grace. Jane was born on April 17, 1947 in Chicago, Illinois, the oldest of three children of Charles and Janice Armstrong. She departed this life on January 9, 2018 at Summit Hospital in Oakland, California.
Jane accepted Christ at an early age at Park Manor Church and graduated near the top of her class at Parker High School both on the South Side of Chicago. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and a Masters of Arts Degree in Sociology at DePaul University where she also met her husband, Arnold Terry Grisham.
Jane was a scholar, teacher, mentor and philanthropist. She taught third grade for over 35 years; first at DuBois Grammar School in Chicago and later at Manzanita Grammar School in Oakland. She taught long enough to teach the children of some of her earlier students. Many of her closest friends are the colleagues where she worked in public schools together educating young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Jane and Arnold began married life on January 18, 1969. They have two children, daughter Kristine, son Jonathan and three grandchildren Bailey, David and Nola. In 1986 they left the Midwest to take advantage of opportunities in the Bay Area.
Jane and Arnold lived in Oakland for 32 years. In addition to teaching, Jane was an active volunteer and leader in various community philanthropies as well as her church, the Imani Community Church, where she was a trustee for three years.
Jane served for 15 years on the board of trustees of Northern Lights School, a small independent school in Oakland. She was a committed member of Twelve Days of Christmas, a not for profit organization that provides Christmas meals and gifts for children from needy families, and she was a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority where she actively participated in its charitable endeavors.
Among the activities that she was most proud of is the Last Mile Foundation that she and her husband founded more than ten years ago. It is the fund raising arm of Alive & Free-Omega Boys Club and provides first generation college students with funds to begin their college education. It continues to be very successful granting hundreds of scholarships totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Jane’s memory will be cherished by her family, her brother and sister, Franklin and Frances and a host of other relatives and friends. Christ said: “All that the Father gives me, will come to me and those that come to me I will embrace.” Jane’s legacy is one of taking God’s gifts to her and making them available to others. She will be fondly remembered for her big smile, her soft spoken and understanding ways, a quiet yet sharp wit, and her accessible presence that was always available to anyone in need.