Who was Grace Magnaghi?
Grace H. Magnaghi was born on February 8, 1911 in her beloved San Francisco, to Martin and Catherine (Claverie) Mendiara, natives of France. After graduating from Galileo High School and attending commercial-business school, she was employed as a bookkeeper for numerous San Francisco firms for over a decade. She married Mario V. Magnaghi on August 2, 1931. They had two sons, Russell and Roger Magnaghi.
Throughout her life, Grace Magnaghi enjoyed history and traveling to historic sites which meant she kept journals of each of her trips. While visiting the Gettysburg battlefield, she recited the Gettysburg Address—by heart. Always interested in the news whether on TV or the San Francisco Chronicle, she kept abreast of the late breaking news stories, especially politics and history.
In high school, Grace Magnaghi first learned about iron ore shipments at the Soo Locks at Sault Ste. Marie in the Upper Peninsula. During the summer months, she visited-- Mackinac Island, Copper Harbor and the Soo. While visiting the canal she finally saw what she had learned so many years before.
Grace Magnaghi moved to Marquette in1999 because of declining health to be nearer her family where she developed a new life in the Upper Peninsula. She played the piano/keyboard, had a wonderful sense of humor, went to the gym, went to the Landmark for a “burger and beer” or celebrated Bastille Day (France Independence) with “crepes and Champagne” and an “Ala Santé”. Although she spoke English, French was her first language, which she constantly promoted to anyone who wished to learn it. After 10 years in Marquette and celebrating 100 years, she died on March 9, 2011.
Since 1999, she had been interested in seeing that the heritage of the region was promoted by researchers and scholars and thus created this endowment--Grace H. Magnaghi Upper Peninsula Research Grant Endowment which supports scholarly research about the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (education, the labor movement, politics and government, environmental preservation, religion, linguistics, immigration, literature and culture).