Grace Hosking, 98, longtime OB resident
May 31, 2012 | 4866 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
GRACE HOSKING
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Grace Hosking loved Ocean Beach! Upon arriving in San Diego with her husband, Harold, and two children in 1957, she searched for a place for them to live that was sunny and close to the ocean. Ocean Beach was perfect. It allowed her to walk to the stores, just as if she were back in her homeland of London, England, and she continued to walk almost daily to her favorite places: the library, post office, banks and stores.

She was easily recognized by her blue walker she pushed that kept her independent, even at the age of 98. On May 2, she passed away in her sleep while on a visit to England to see her younger sister. Her cremated remains will be scattered at sea in remembrance for her love of cruises and traveling across the world. A celebration of life is scheduled for Saturday, June 9.

Grace was born on Feb. 27, 1914, and lived through both World War I and World War II in London, England. She remembered the search lights of World War I and an army soldier picking her up to see a big Christmas tree when she was three.

At the age of 14, her father told her she needed to finish going to school and choose a trade for an internship. She chose to become a dressmaker and traveled across London by train and two buses to the New Bond Street area, where she became a fine dressmaker, working for the famous Lutchen’s firm in the late 1930s. Here, she sewed for Vivian Leigh and Wallace Simpson, among others. She would quickly copy the one-of-a-kind patterns to use to make her sister’s wedding dresses, and often sewed all the wedding party’s dresses for her family and friends.

These were happy years in which she enjoyed going to the London theaters, camping with the Girl Guides on weekends, and living with her parents, two sisters and a brother over the family grocery store in Wimbledon. From childhood, she always dreamed of going to Canada, where her aunt had emigrated to in the early part of the 20th century.

During World War II, Grace chose to join the Women’s Land Army in England because she loved the outdoors, and she did not want to work in a munitions factory, having seen firsthand the many people maimed or killed by Nazi afternoon bombings on the factories. Grace once described the horrific bombings of December 1941, during which she had to find her way across London when the buses stopped because of too much fire. She wisely followed the bus driver, whom she thought would know where other buses might be located to help her find her way home. Many hours later, she arrived home on foot, counting the chimney pots to make sure her home was still there and finding her father still standing at the front door. He knew she would make it home, and Grace was determined to return home, knowing that her neighbor’s father had recently been killed by shrapnel while awaiting his daughter’s return home.

The good times of World War II included the camaraderie of living with 40 girls in Nower Lodge in Dorking, Surrey,where they worked together harvesting potatoes in the snow, fruit in the summer and wheat in the fall ,feeding the bundles of grain into the steam threshing machines while getting covered in dirt and dust. The Canadian soldiers were also stationed nearby, and she enjoyed invitations to many Saturday dances where many of the girls met future husbands. Grace still dreamed of going to Canada, and after the war ended in 1947, she signed up to sail on the H.M.S. Aquitania for the New World.

Grace worked as a dressmaker and lived in Toronto for 10 years, where, in 1950, she met and married Harold Hosking, who passed away four years ago, and had her two children, Lorne and Patricia. Harold worked in the aerospace industry at A.V. Roe, and when recruited to work for Ryan Aeronautical in San Diego, the family emigrated again, entering the United States via Sioux St. Marie on June 26, 1957. The family made the long journey down Route 66 to San Diego. There were only two houses for sale in Ocean Beach when they arrived, and they bought the one with the most land, so they could one day build a new home on it.

Grace was always recognized for being English, even when she became an American citizen 11 years ago. For years, she continued to work as a dressmaker from their Ocean Beach home, attended the Point Loma Methodist Church and participated in school activities at the Ocean Beach Elementary with her children and, later, four grandchildren: Jeff, Paul, Robbie and Juliet Crowder.

She and Harold took many cruises as they enjoyed a long, happy retirement. They traveled to visit friends and family in England, Canada and Australia, but they always came home to Ocean Beach, a special place of beauty, sunshine and friendly people.

She lived to enjoy her four great-grandchildren: Kate, Ben, Colin and Evan; and continued to tell her stories of survival, happiness and appreciating life.

A celebration of Grace Hosking's life will take place on Saturday, June 9 at 11 a.m. at the Mission Hills Methodist Church.

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