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Marquette University Alumni Association

Association of Marquette University Women Award Recipient

Mary Neville Bielefeld Award

 Grace Stieber MertenGRACE STIEBER MERTEN, SP '49

Wauwatosa, Wis.

As she watched her husband slip from a painful terminal illness into eternal rest, Grace Merten often reflected on the verses of Emily Dickinson:

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all …

Despite the loss of her faithful companion, Grace never stopped hoping. Moved by a need to bring peace and dignity to the final chapter of people’s lives, Grace co-founded AngelsGrace Hospice in 2004.

The first of its kind in the Waukesha, Wis., area, AngelsGrace is a peaceful hospice facility in a pastoral setting that provides comfort to patients of all ages and their family members. Grace would humbly say that she is simply fulfilling the wishes of her late husband, Walter L. Merten, Arts ’49, Law ’50.

But Grace’s work didn’t stop there. Through the Walter L. and Grace M. Merten Charitable Trust, Grace provided funding for the Lake Area Free Clinic in Oconomowoc, Wis., a free health clinic, staffed by volunteer professionals, that provides medical care for the uninsured. The clinic had outgrown its facilities and moved to a building four times its previous size.

Grace also recently contributed to Ray and Kay Eckstein Hall, home of Marquette University Law School, to honor her late husband and help train women and men as competent lawyers and ethical leaders committed to helping those in need.

A woman of deep faith, Grace views herself as a servant open to where God may ask her to go, saying women and men are called by the Holy Spirit “to lead” using their gifts for God’s glory.

Fun fact: Grace, who lived in Merrity Hall for two years, loved to study in the library and enjoyed meals with friends at the Old Union.