Grace Bishara Aswad of Grand Island passed away Sunday April 17, 2022, at her home under the care of her family and Hospice Buffalo.
Grace was born on Friday, April 13, 1934, in Niagara Falls, to the late Bishara and Najla (Haick) Bishara. She was the eldest of five children and loved caring for her younger siblings. She enjoyed working in her parents’ store on Ontario Avenue in Niagara Falls. In 1955, Grace graduated from Niagara Falls High School and gained employment at National Carbon as an administrative secretary.
On Feb. 10, 1957, Grace married the love of her life, the late Very Rev. Fr. George (Richard) Aswad. He passed away in January of 2014. Together, they bought a plot of land and built their first home on Sandy Beach Road on Grand Island. Over the years, Grace and Richard built two other homes on Grand Island, where they raised their family of five daughters, 10 grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
Grace was a faithful and devout Orthodox Christian. She was an integral member of St. George Orthodox Church in Niagara Falls, where her husband served as the priest for 35 years. Grace was known as “Khourieh,” a title reserved for a priest’s wife, and cared deeply for her parish community.
Grace was the choir director at St. George for 60 years, taught Sunday school, and directed several children’s musical programs. Children brought Grace endless joy, and she loved sharing her musical talents with them.
Grace was instrumental in the development of the Sacred Music Institute for the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America and was the choir director for the Archdiocese Convention choirs. She was the recipient of the Antiochian Gold Medal of Merit. She was crowned Queen of Midwest SOYO and was an officer and member of the Antiochian Women of North America.
Grace had a beautiful voice and was a professional singer within her community. She sang for the troops and participated in local musical theater productions. She loved to perform, and her performance of “Oh Holy Night” on Christmas Eve was a beloved tradition at St. George Church.
Grace was also a three-time cancer survivor and an active participant in the Grand Island Relay For Life. She performed at the Relay For Life several times and was chosen as the honorary survivor in 2016.
Grace loved her family and friends dearly. She found the most joy being surrounded by and serving those she loved. Her love knew no limits. She embodied joy and brought happiness and a smile to all who knew or met her.
Grace is survived by her five daughters: Lynn (George) Wood, Laura (Jeff) Colyer, Louise (William) Snyder, Lisa (Michael) Dudley and Lana Dudley; 10 blessed grandchildren: Jessica (Tracy), Jeana, Matthew, Andrew, Ryan (of blessed memory), Rachel, Kara, Eric, Amber and Alyssa; two great-grandchildren: Andrew and Jeffrey; a sister: Judy (late Jack) Manoukian; a brother: Kamil (Carol) Bishara; and many nieces and nephews. She was the sister of the late William (late Diane) and Joseph Bishara.
Her family will be present from 3-7 p.m. Sunday, April 24, at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church, 1073 Saunders Settlement Road, Niagara Falls. Funeral services will take place there at 10 a.m. on Bright Monday with Fr. Raphael officiating. Interment will be in Riverdale Cemetery, Lewiston.
Flowers are gratefully declined. Memorials may be made in Grace’s name to St. George Antiochian Church.
Arrangements by the Rhoney Funeral Home, Niagara Falls. Visit www.rhoneyfuneralhome.com for the guest register.