Mrs. Gracie Alexander, age 84, of Dothan, Alabama passed away Monday, May 3, 2021.
Visitation will be Friday, May 7, 2021 from 4 PM to 6 PM at the funeral home.
Graveside service will be held on Saturday, May 8, 2021 at 11 AM at Friendship AME Cemetery in Ozark, Alabama.
Gracie Jackson Alexander was born February 7, 1937, in Ozark, Alabama. She was the second of ten children born to Walter and Lacie Jackson. She was a lifelong member of Stringer Street AME Church.
Realizing their second child had been blessed with a spirit that was loving and giving, Gracie's parents relied on their daughter's help as their family grew. She was a protective, second mom to her siblings and kept a watchful eye over them all.
When she was 11 years old, Jeremiah Alexander, the son of a hardworking sharecropper, began to notice that the person who had been his childhood playmate was actually a pretty girl. He asked Gracie's dad if he could visit her. Walter consented, and the couple began their courtship. Although, as Jeremiah told it in a story he wrote in 2016 to celebrate the couple's 60th wedding anniversary, "courting" actually meant that Jeremiah was only allowed to visit Gracie on Sunday afternoons, after he had attended church and hurriedly completed all his chores so that he could get to her home. "Rain or shine, hot or cold, it didn't matter," wrote Jeremiah, "I was in love with this pretty, skinny girl so I couldn't waste any time."
The couple married in 1956, during Gracie's 11th grade year at Dothan's Carver High School. Gracie graduated the following year. By then, Jeremiah had joined the Navy. They paid $3 for a license, married at the Dothan Courthouse, and spent one night together before Jeremiah returned to his duty station in California. For nearly two years, the couple would not see each other.
In 1958, Gracie joined Jeremiah in California, eagerly awaiting his return every time his ship went overseas. Eventually, they agreed that when he was deployed she would return to Dothan.
The couple welcomed their first daughter, Cynthia, in 1960. Following Cynthia's birth in Dothan, Gracie traveled between Dothan and California with an infant and a couple's only possessions - a trunk full of clothes, pots and pans, a little black and white television, and bedding. In 1962, the couple welcomed their daughter, Cheryl, who was followed in 1963 by the birth of her sister, Dena. "We were on a roll now. LOL," wrote Jeremiah in the story retelling the couple's love. The 1970 birth of Christina completed the Alexander family.
Eventually, Jeremiah received orders to go to Florida. To avoid uprooting the family when new orders arrived in the future, Jeremiah and Gracie relocated her and the girls to Dothan so they would have stability.
Gracie's family was the center of her world, and she took her role as a mother seriously. A skilled seamstress, and an excellent cook, she worked for several years as a dietary aid for Flowers Hospital, where she cooked for 17 years in addition to Westside Terrace. Once, Gracie made a peanut butter cream cake for the Peanut Festival queens. The cake received such rave reviews, that she was asked to make the cake on the WTVY-TV Morning Show, hosted by local Dothan celebrity, Ann Varnum. Today, Gracie's daughter, Cheryl, makes the same cake.
Well known for giving people her last, if Gracie had something she wanted others to have it, too. If she sensed a need in another, Gracie would work to over fill it. This was especially true when it came to children. Gracie believed every child should have everything they needed and most of what they wanted.
Gracie's daughters, grandchildren and great grandchildren were the love of her life. In her senior years, she looked forward to receiving nightly calls from her granddaughter, Portia, and Portia's three daughters-especially Gracelyn- who carries the name her great grandmother had before changing it to Gracie.
On May 3, 2021, the 65 year love affair between Gracie and Jeremiah was placed on pause. Although she is no longer in sight, the love between them will always remain, as will the love that was exchanged between Gracie and her family.
In addition to her parents, Gracie was preceded in death by her daughter: Cynthia Alexander Irvin; and siblings: Minnie Malone and Joe Jackson.
In addition to her life partner, Jeremiah, Gracie is mourned by her daughters: Cheryl Alexander (Jim) Kelly, Dena Alexander, and Christina Alexander (Derrick) Crawford; grandchildren: Christopher (Shandice) Reed, Portia (Jashaud) Hives, Kayla (Brett) Brooks, Devan (Samuel) Fowler, Alyssa Bradley, Raymond Bradley, Camille Crawford, and Alexander Kelly; great grandchildren: Marissa Hives, Mackenzie Hives, Gracelyn Hives, and Aniya Reed; sisters: Rosie Evans and Lacie Tarver; brothers: Willie (Mae Pearl) Jackson, Walter Ray Jackson, and Larry Jackson, and a host of nieces, nephews, family, friends, including Gracie's Stringer Street AME Church family.
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