Grace Janicki Waz, 94, died peacefully in Providence on January 10, 2018. She had been living at Elmhurst Extended Care for the past 3 years where she was a much loved and well cared for resident.
Born Grace Judge in Cranston on August 10, 1923, she was the daughter of Albert and Madeleine (Noque) Judge, all long time Cranston residents. She was the wife of the late William Waz and of the late Theodore Place Janicki. She was the beloved mother of Grayce (Janicki) Moorehead of Riverview, Warwick and Theodore Place Janicki Jr. (aka Terry Judge.) of Bristol.
Grace was a well-known prominent businesswoman in Cranston for more than 50 years. As one of the first women Realtors in Rhode Island she was the owner of Grace Agency, the Park Avenue Cranston business she started at 35 years old in 1959. In her own words: “I had the following goals - college for my -children; a lovely home of my own; a new car; one piece of investment property and retirement from the business in the still early years of my life.” During her Grace Agency years (which lasted through her 8th decade!), she served on the Board of Directors of the Cranston Chamber of Commerce, was President of the Women's Council of Realtors of the National Association of Realtors, Governor of the Rhode Island Chapter Women's Council of Realtors, Regional Vice President of the Association of Realtors and was proud to have been a twenty-five year member of the Greater Providence Board of Realtors and the National Association of Realtors.
In 1970, Grace started an additional business - Grace Travel, also on Park Avenue Cranston. For more than 35 years, she and her husband “Bill” lead groups and travelled all over the world including many countries in Europe and South America, Australia, Russia, Mexico, cruises on the Mediterranean Sea and Caribbean and extensive travel within the United States. Impressive as all the world was, Grace loved America with all its beauty and quirks, and she never stopped singing her favorite song - “God Bless America.” Amongst numerous special travelling moments, one highlight was cruising the China coast when trade was first opened by the Nixon administration. Another memorable trip was to the Galapagos Islands, and yet another to visit her mother’s relatives on the Belgian border of France. She most enthusiastically promoted travel and was President of the Association of Professional Travel Agents (APTA) of Rhode Island.
Grace had many interests that dovetailed with her profession. She was most pleased to be an active member of Providence Chapter #1 Order of Eastern Star. Another preferred organization where she could learn and enjoy speaking was her charter membership in Cosmopolitan Toastmistress Club. She went on to found and become President of the Ocean State Toastmistress Club. Always concerned for her children’s education, well-being and happiness, Grace became president of the PTA of the Meshanticut Park Elementary School and the PTA of Cranston High School West. She could always make time for anything to do with the kids and all the activities that she encouraged them to participate in and her favorite expression being “there is no such word as can’t.”
Grace never allowed a dull moment and had many diverse interests outside of her professional life. She had grown up on a farm in western Cranston with a serious love for nature and flowers which she passed along to her daughter. Grace’s father, Albert Judge raised specialized flowers for the trade, her brothers owned flower shops, and early on, 1952 -1956, she was a designer for CALART Artificial Flowers on Reservoir Avenue during its hey-day, and that lead her to be the founder and president of the Old Spring Garden Club of Cranston.
She grew up in Oaklawn Baptist Church, and was a long time member of Woodridge Congregational Church where she taught Sunday School and sang in the choir. Painting, golf, and water sports –boating and fishing were some of her favorite hobbies. Swimming and sunning held a life-long appeal she had appreciated since the 1940’s when she and the family joined the Bonnet Shores Beach Club for the next 20 years. In later years, along with her husband, she entertained and cooked for a continual stream of guests at the Waz summer house on the Kickemuit in Bristol, featuring freshly harvested clams from in front of the house for clam cakes, chowdah and her almost famous cherry cheesecake.
Grace will be remembered for her quick smile, dancing eyes, and enthusiastic grasp of the best of life’s treasures, her humor, her singing, her generosity and sense of style as well as for her leadership, commitment and contributions to her much loved children and community.
Grace’s family would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to the many friends, caregivers, hospitals and others over the past few years who have graciously helped in so many ways. Burial was private at Pawtuxet Memorial Park, Warwick.
A celebration of Grace Waz's life is being planned for the Spring, at a time to be announced. While Grace had a strong in-born love of flowers, friends and family wishing to make donations in memory of Grace can be made to a “full of grace fund” for activities on the Second Floor of Elmhurst Extended Care, and can be sent to G. Moorehead, PO Box 9534, Warwick, RI 02889 – tag “grace fund- Elmhurst.”