Grace Hirsch Gladstein

Grace Gladstein 6/18/1911-7/30/2010

Family: Her siblings were Morris (full brother) and Frieda, Rose and Harry (half siblings). Her husband was Melvin and she had 2 children, Lynne and Michael.

Lynne Grossman describes her mother as living a Cinderella story. Her father had a grocery and dry goods store Ferrell, Pennsylvania and Grace's mother was his second wife. Two years after Grace was born, her brother Morris was born but sadly their mother passed away when Grace was only 4. Benjamin married again to a woman with her own children and from that point on, Grace and Morris always "got the wrong end of the stick".Grace learned this status quickly. Before her biological mother had passed away, Grace had had her ears pierced and her mother had planned to give Grace diamond earrings. But after her father remarried, the new stepmother took the diamonds for herself. Another example: Morris and Grace were excluded from the dinner table in favor of their step siblings. Later the family was split up and Grace lived with other relatives.

After Grace finished high school, she went to work first at a shoe store and then worked at Lernerís department store. Grace demonstrated her competence from the start and she had an opportunity in her mid 20's to be promoted to manager of Lernerís in Durham. She decided that she looked too young and to gain the respect of her employees, she wore fake glasses and styled her hair into a bun.

Her store was on Main Street and Melvin, a "good looking man," managed his fatherís menís clothing store on Mangum Street. It was just a matter of time before he introduced himself and they eventually got married. Grace was the "Perle Mesta" of Durham, they were frequently giving parties and were well-liked in the communities. Their social network was wide.

Although Grace worked at the Gladstein store, she always wanted her own shop. She successfully opened up a small boutique shop and also owned a coffee shop. Grace loved to accessorize and she would dress up the women who came into her store. She would go on business trips, seeking out styles that would appeal back home. In her business she was a risk taker, but she ended up being very successful.

Besides being a successful business woman, mother and party giver, she had other jobs and responsibilities. She would take care of her bossy mother-in-law, who lived with her and Melvin for 6 months of the year. She also was active in the Jewish community, serving as president of the Durham Chapter of Hadassah where she was selected Woman of the ,Year and president of Beth El Sisterhood. Grace was very organized and she would juggle all of these jobs.

Inscribed on her tombstone is the word "Gracious" and according to Lynne, her daughter, this epitomized her spirit and personality.