Connie Fotos Grace of West Lafayette passed away on Monday, November 20, 2023, at home. Born August 7, 1932, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Connie was a lifelong resident of West Lafayette and Lafayette, Indiana. She was the daughter of the late Professor John T. and Virginia Cummings Fotos. Connie received her Bachelor of Science degree in Home Economics from Purdue University in 1955.
She married Richard E. Grace on January 29, 1955, in West Lafayette, and he survives. They celebrated their 68th wedding anniversary in 2023. Connie was a homemaker, a community volunteer, and a supporter of the arts. She was a member of Zeta Tau Alpha sorority, the Lafayette Alumnae Chapter, and received both her 50-year White Violet pin and Certificate of Merit Award. Connie served for over 25 years as a member of the Alpha Theta Chapter House Corporation and the Chapter Advisory Board at Purdue University.
She served the Art Museum of Greater Lafayette as first and second vice presidents of the Art League, a member of the Fiftieth Anniversary Committee of the Art League, a member of the Collections Committee and the Exhibitions Committee of the Art Museum, the Art Museum Board, and the Art Museum Foundation Board. Connie was a member of the Lafayette Symphony Guild and chaired the Guild Boutique gift shop. She also served as a member of the board of the Wabash Valley Trust for Historic Preservation.
Connie was a life member of the Purdue Alumni Association, the Art Museum of Greater Lafayette, the Tippecanoe County Historical Association, and the Greater Lafayette Health Services Auxiliary, where she co-founded the Fish Bowl art gallery at St. Elizabeth Hospital. She also was a member of the Purdue President’s Council, John Purdue Club, and a fifty-year member of the Purdue Women’s Club, Zeta Tau Alpha Alumnae, Epsilon active and Beta associate chapters of Kappa Kappa Kappa philanthropic sorority, and the Lafayette Country Club.
Connie had a life-long interest in the arts and higher education. She and her husband created a major endowment for the permanent collection of the Art Museum of Greater Lafayette. They also endowed the first horn chair of the Lafayette Symphony Orchestra. She and her husband have endowed several awards and scholarships at Purdue University in the College of Health and Human Sciences, the College of Engineering, University Bands, and at the
Community Foundation. Connie also created an endowment with the Zeta Tau Alpha Foundation to provide a scholarship for a member of the Purdue Alpha Theta Chapter of Zeta Tau Alpha sorority.
Connie and her husband, Dick, received the Johanna Downey Award in 2009 from the Wabash Valley Trust for Historic Preservation and the first Stewardship Award in 2011 from Indiana Landmarks. They were recognized for their research, service, leadership, and stewardship in historic preservation. Their mid-century modern Robert J. Smith house received the Wabash Valley Trust Sycamore Leaf Plaque in 2006, and in 2012 the Curtis-Grace House in West Lafayette was listed in the National Register of Historic Places by the United States Department of the Interior.
Surviving with her husband are daughter, Virginia Louise Grace of Indianapolis, two granddaughters, Kelly Gretencord Zielke (Zach) of Oswego, Illinois, Sarah Gretencord Ealy (Jeff) of Carmel, Indiana, two great granddaughters, Reagan Louise Zielke and Riley Harper Zielke, one great grandson, Landon James Ealy; two brothers, Theodore J. (Ted) Fotos of Tokyo, Japan and Henry Cummings (Nick) Photos of St. Paul, Minnesota; two nieces, Mary Martin Fuller (Doug) and Katherine L. Martin (Michelle) of Kalamazoo, Michigan and two nephews,
Chris Fotos and John Fotos of Tokyo, Japan, and niece Helen Fotos Skinner of Vancouver, Canada. Connie was preceded in death by a son, Richard Cummings Grace, in 1978 and a sister, Genevieve (Ginnie) Fotos Martin in 1983.
Private family services and interment in the mausoleum at Tippecanoe Memory Gardens will be held at a later date.
Contributions may be made to the Grace Endowment at The Art Museum of Greater Lafayette (102 S. 10th Street, Lafayette, IN 47905); College of Health and Human Sciences to The Connie F. Grace Scholarship; Purdue University (Stone Hall, 700 W. State Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907); Lafayette Community Foundation of Greater Lafayette (300 Main Street, Suite 100, Lafayette, IN 47901) or to the charity of your choice.