Grace Ida Kopacz died from complications of COVID-19 on Thursday, April 1, 2021, in Newburgh, New York. She was 83 years old.
She is survived by her five children: Kathleen of Gainesville, Floa., Michael, of Alachua, Fla., Richard, of Cornwall, Roger, of Anchorage, Alaska, and Susan (James) Keesling of Alachua, Fla, a brother David (Iva) Weyant of Port Orange, Fla. Five grandchildren: Nicole Kopacz, Vicki (Sean) Clark, Kevin Kopacz, Ari Kopacz and Trey Keesling and four great-grandchildren; Omni, Kci, Vitale and Jace.
She was preceded in death by her husband of 52 years, Richard Francis Kopacz; parents Dewey, and Clara (Coates) Weyant, her sister Eleanor Weyant and brothers Charles and Kenneth Weyant.
Born on Oct. 13, 1937, in Cornwall, Grace grew up in Central Valley, then later in Harriman. She attended Central Valley High School until it closed in 1953. Then graduated, at age 16, from Monroe-Woodbury High School’s fourth class in 1954. There were 52 graduates at Monroe-Woodbury that year. Grace moved to Cornwall in 1963.
Grace worked at the Arden House Conference Center in Harriman, in the early to mid-1950’s, then Onchiota Conference Center (now Sterling Forest Conference Center) until she got married in 1961. She went back to work after her children had graduated from high school. Grace worked at the front desk at the Arden Homestead Conference Center in Arden for several years.
Grace was an avid genealogist and proud of her heritage in the Mid-Hudson Valley. Her second great grandfather, Vincent Weyant, was the owner of Bear Mountain, Hessian Lake and its surroundings, including 1,800 acres. Her third great grandparents, Tobias and Jerusha (Smith) Weyant, were owners of nearby Iona Island from 1829 to 1865. Her fourth and fifth great grandfathers, John Weyant and Tobias Weyant, were soldiers in the Revolutionary war. Her sixth great grandfather, Michael Weygandt, was a Palatine refuge from the Rhine River Valley of Germany, who received 250 acres from Queen Anne of England to settle along the Hudson River in Quassaick (now Newburgh) in the Colony of New York. Part of Michael Weygandt’s estate, and his home, is Washington’s Headquarters today – only five miles away from Grace’s home in Cornwall.
Grace was also a Mayflower descendant through Stephen Hopkins and a descendant of Richard Smith, founder of Smithtown on Long Island. One of her cousins, Helen Weyant, became part owner of the New York Yankees in 1939. Her brother Rex Weyant was the Traveling Secretary of the New Yprk Yankees from 1942 - 1945.
Grace and her daughter, Kathy, worked on the family tree since 1997. She was a member of the Orange County Genealogical and the Rockland County Genealogical Societies. Grace enjoyed genealogy and “meeting new cousins” on Ancestry.com. Her extended family meant a lot to her.
Grace was an avid New York sports fan: NY Yankees, NY Giants and NY Rangers. She also attended the minor league baseball games of the Hudson Valley Renegades in nearby Poughkeepsie.
Grace loved to travel, visiting the national parks and saw all 50 states. She also traveled to three countries, Canada, Mexico and Poland. Grace enjoyed reading, history, crossword puzzles, computer games, and taking walks - she completed a 5K at age 79.
Grace had a great sense of humor and infectious laugh. She touched many lives with her kind-hearted personality and will be remembered as being one of the sweetest, most selfless, generous, and most forgiving people you ever met. To honor Grace please do something nice for someone or reach out to a cousin or an old friend.
Grace was very generous, supporting many different charities. In lieu of flowers, please donate to a charity of your choice in her name.
Memorial visitation will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 24, at Smith, Seaman, and Quackenbush, Inc. Funeral Home, 515 Route 32, Highland Mills.
Interment of cremains will be in St. Thomas of Canterbury Cemetery in Cornwall at 11 a.m. on Monday, April 26.
Arrangements are by Smith, Seaman, and Quackenbush, Inc. Funeral Home (845 782-8185 www.ssqfuneralhome.com).