Mary Younelle Grice, age 84, died March 9, 2015 at her home near the Baldwin County ghost town of Blakeley where she founded Historic Blakeley State Park. Born May 15, 1930 in Hattiesburg, MS, the only child of Charles Dudley Grice and Willie Y. Greenlee. (Surviving relatives names have been ommitted from the obituary as is customary by Find A Grave guidelines.) She was a graduate of Mobile's Murphy High School and the University of Alabama. A former teacher at Ben C. Rain High, she was a lifetime supporter of public schools. She set up the Mobile County CETA program and ran it until she was fired for refusing to bow to political pressure to enroll ineligible participants. She was director of the Little River Community Action Program in Baldwin, Escambia and Monroe Counties and worked with the HUD Community Development program in Kentucky. She once ran for Congress. A pioneer in preservation, she is widely credited for saving the Blakeley historic site and the creation of a public park on lands she persuaded owners to donate. She led in the creation of Historic Blakeley Foundation in 1975 to accept the donation of the site of the old town. She persueded the Alabama Legislature in 1981 to create the state agency that operates the park. The National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution awarded her their prestigious Medal of Honor for that work. Health issues led to her 1997 retirement as park director but her intrest continued. She visited the park weekly until shortly before her death. Graveside services will be held at 2 p.m. Tuesday, March 17, 2015 at the historic Saluda (Hill) Ridge Cemetery on State Highway 225 across the road from Blakeley State Park with a memorial program immediately following in the Fellowship Hall of East Pointe Baptist Church next door. The public is invited to both. The family requests in lieu of flowers that she be remembered by donations to the Historic Blakeley Foundation, P.O. Box 7528, Spanish Fort, AL. 36577. Hughes Funeral Home, Daphne, AL is handling burial arrangements.
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