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Grace Arant Bowen Utsey, 104, resident of Abbeville Nursing Home widow of Earl Utsey, Jr. passed away Wednesday Dec. 8, 2021.
Grace was twice married first to the late Paul K. Bowen, Sr.
Born in Greenwood, SC she was a daughter of the late Shedrick and Allye Bullock Arant.
Grace attended the City schools of Ashville, NC where she lived with her aunt and uncle, Mr. and Mrs. J.B. Williams. During her years in Asheville she was a member of a youth orchestra and was First Chair in the Violin Section. She attended Lander College and Draughton Business College, majoring in Business.
She held positions with the Auto Finance Company in Greenwood and Charlotte, NC; was a private secretary to the Chief Engineer of Sanderson and Porter Construction Company of NY; was private secretary to the President of Erskine College, Dr. R.C. Grier, and to the Business Manager, Mr. Robert Brownlee. She left the business world to enter the music field, studying at Lander College and Erskine College. For over 50 years, until the age of 92, she taught piano, voice, art and violin to hundreds of children, teens and adults. She was more than a teacher to many, caring for their lives as individuals. She was known as MaMa Grace to many. In addition to her music career, she was an outstanding artist, specializing in hand painted lamps, a very delicate field of art. She was one of the first to do this type of art in the South and at one time had 27 dealers over the South with whom she worked.
Mrs. Utsey was active in her church at Upper Long Cane Presbyterian Church as Choir Director and Sunday School Teacher.
She was honored to receive the title of Abbeville Woman of the Year. She was also instrumental in organizing the Abbeville Farm Bureau Talent Show and was the 1994 Vice-President of the AARP Chapter. By staying active with her music and art, she stayed “young at heart”. She saw life as a gift. She loved unconditionally and saw only the good in people, no matter their race, financial status or position in life. Her motto in life was “Never Give Up. You CAN do it!”
Survivors include: a son Paul K. Bowen, Jr. of Abbeville, SC; a daughter Judy Bowen Cannon of Abbeville, SC; three grandchildren Adam Smith, Brooke Smith and Clint Smith; eight great-grandchildren Kayleigh, Landon, Maddison, Walter, L.C. and Maci Smith, Randy and Michael Gray; three great-great-grandchildren; And a special “grandson”, Duane Adams.
She was preceded in death by a daughter Lynda Bowen Gray, a granddaughter Paula Kay Smith, a grandson Paul Monroe (Skip) Gray, a brother Jake C. Arant, sisters Lucy Arant Webb and Vivian Arant Montgomery.
Funeral services will be conducted Sunday Dec. 12, 2021 at 3:00 PM in the Chandler Chapel at Chandler-Jackson Funeral Home with the Rev. Wayne Wicker officiating. The burial will follow on Long Cane Cemetery.
The family is at the home of her daughter Mrs. Judy Cannon, 1505 Greenville St. Abbeville, SC.
The family will receive friends Sunday afternoon from 2:00 until 3:00 PM at the funeral home prior to services.
Memorials in memory of Grace may be made to Agape Hospice, 326 Montague Ave. Greenwood, SC 29646.
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