Nancycarol Gripman

Obituary of Nancycarol Williams Gripman

Nancy Gripman, a longtime Parker resident who founded the Parker Task Force and whose life was defined by family and friends, adventure, gardening and community service, died of natural causes on Dec. 1, 2015 at Vi in Highlands Ranch. A sun-bronzed athlete who excelled in water sports, Nancy was an accomplished sailor, swimmer and synchronized swimmer in her youth. Her swimming ability helped her to save the life of her youngest son Tom when he was washed out to sea in a rip tide off the Florida coast at the age of three. Nancy swam after him and held his head up as she swam around the current and back to shore. Tom’s first memory is of his mother saying, “I don’t think I can make it.” But she did. She was also an accomplished ice skater. When she was pregnant, she simply strapped on a pillow to cushion any falls before she stepped onto the ice at the local pond or rink. She also liked to run and won an age-group medal at the Boulder Bolder. Born NancyCarol Williams on Dec. 23, 1928 in Detroit, Mich., to Hayden Rescorla Williams and Velma Francelia (Whittington) Williams, Nancy was the older of two girls. Her sister preceded her in death. Her childhood was marked by magical summers spent in a log cabin built by her grandfather on the upper peninsula shores of Lake Michigan, where she was free to roam the woods and beaches, swim and play with her cousins and sister. Beautiful and full of fun, Nancy graduated from the University of Michigan School of Dentistry with a degree in dental hygiene soon after the end of World War II. She worked for a Grosse Pointe dentist for less than a year when she contracted hepatitis and spent several months in the hospital. Her husband, William (Bill) Severance Gripman, said her illness was probably the only reason she married him, because during college she was booked with dates weeks in advance. He was the only one of several suitors who continued to regularly visit her in the hospital, and they married shortly after she was released, in 1951, when they were both age 22. Bill was a Navy man and their first three children were born in three different east coast seaport towns: the eldest, John Burke Gripman of Raleigh NC, 10 months after they married; followed quickly by daughter Suzanne Ruth Gripman (Pletcher) of Boulder, CO; and sons William Jr. of Canton MI and Thomas Hayden of Plano TX. The family was complete within seven years and Nancy is survived by them all. An accomplished homemaker until her children were teenagers, Nancy went back to school and earned a Master’s degree in nutrition at Framingham State University in Mass. She helped establish the first WIC (women, infants and children) nutrition program in Boston. Her family still jokes about being served lentils at every meal: She even baked them into deserts. After living in 12 different communities, the couple finally settled in 1981 to a 10-acre farm in Parker when it was still a small town. Nancy became a Master Gardener, raised chickens, turkeys named Thanksgiving and Christmas, a few cattle and sheep. The couple became involved in the Parker United Methodist Church and joined the Parker Breakfast Club and Rotary Club. They moved to the Vi retirement community in Highlands Ranch in 2010. Nancy and others founded the Parker Task Force in 1981 in her barn and it was incorporated in 1987. Her children remember her driving her Ford Ranger truck to local grocery stores to collect unused baked and dry goods destined for food baskets for the homeless and needy in Parker and the Denver Inner City Parish. Still an all-volunteer organization, the Parker Task Force today boasts 120 active volunteers and serves 9,970 people annually with food, limited financial assistance and other support services while they get back on their feet. In 2014, Nancy spoke and manned a shovel at the groundbreaking for a new 8,500 square foot facility. Nancy also supported the development of Warren Village housing for single families with children in Denver and she established Parker’s first WIC program. She persuaded the town of Parker to dedicate a small lot for a community garden and she helped to develop a demonstration xeriscape garden downtown. She received a lifetime community achievement award from the Parker Task Force, a Jim Adkins award and recognition for extraordinary community service by the Douglas County Board of County Commissioners, and recognition for her service on the Parks and Recreation Commission. She had a wall in her home office completely filled with plaques and recognitions for community service. When her husband retired, the couple joined International Executive Service Corps, a national team of business leaders, modeled upon the Peace Corps, who provide technical and managerial expertise to developing countries. The couple was assigned to work with companies in Singapore, Prague, Poland and Tutaev, Russia. While Bill helped manufacturers establish modern sales and marketing programs, Nancy taught English in the local schools. She continued to teach English as a second language until a few years ago. In her later years, Nancy enjoyed bridge and book groups with her many friends, loved to tell jokes and family stories, and starred in numerous plays. Throughout her life she was thrifty, getting lots of practice in the early years of her marriage when the family was getting started. Nancy leaves behind her beloved husband of almost 65 years, Bill Gripman; four children named above; and six grandchildren: Jorie Walsdorf and Sam Gripman, both of New York City; Leigh Gripman of Raleigh, NC; Josh Gripman of San Antonio, TX; Will Gripman III of Mililani Town, HI; and Margaret Gripman of Canton MI. In lieu of flowers, donations in Nancy's memory may be made to the Parker Task Force, c/o Parker Task Force Treasurer, 19105 Longs Way, Parker, CO 80134, www.parkertaskforce.orgCharitable donations may be made to: Parker Task Force 19105 Longs Way, Parker CO 80134 Web: Service Information
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Memorial Service

Saturday January 9, 2016 10:30 AM Parker United Methodist Church 11805 S. Pine Drive Parker, CO 80138 Text Details

Memorial Gathering

Saturday January 9, 2016 3:00 PM Vi at Highlands Ranch 2850 Classic Drive Highlands Ranch, CO 80126 Text Details
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