ATLANTA, Ga. — Grace Jordan Howard, leader in the Atlanta design community and mother, died from cancer related complications Friday; she was 69.
Daughter of Lambert Whitfield and Grace Milford Jordan, Grace grew up in Union, S.C. After graduating from Converse College, she moved to Atlanta, where she quickly became one of the first women in management at First National Bank.
After her marriage to James Robert Howard, she devoted her attention to Robert and Jordan, their two sons. A devoted mother, she was president of the PTA, leader of scout troops, and a frequent volunteer at school and church events.
A lifetime member of the Presbyterian Church, Grace found countless ways to serve the community. For many years, she taught kindergarten, Sunday School and an ESL classes for foreign students. Her unassuming demeanor, wise counsel, and seemingly boundless patience made her the ideal advisor, both through the Stephen Ministry Program and throughout her life.
In 1994, Grace became Executive Director of the American Society of Interior Designers, Georgia Chapter. During her 18-year tenure, she transformed their organization, more than doubling their membership and greatly expanding their local presence. The only administrator to ever be recognized at the National Convention, Grace won numerous awards for her work in the design community. In 2011, Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles featured her as one of the most influential people in Atlanta design.
Never a fan of the spotlight, Grace worked tirelessly behind the scenes to carry off every event with aplomb. Her refined aesthetic sense, thorough attention to detail, and soft spoken presence made her the ideal hostess. Steeped in the Old South but ever forward thinking, she forged instant and lasting friendships with young and old. Her strong beliefs were matched only by a neverending curiosity; she walked effortlessly with those from all walks of life.
In 2010, she was diagnosed with cancer. She lived her final years with renewed conviction to the values that permeated her life: elegance, compassion, and acceptance.
Ms. Howard is survived by two sons, Robert Jordan Howard of San Francisco, CA and Whitfield Jordan Howard of Saigon, Vietnam; two brothers, Dr. Charles M. Jordan of Florence, S.C. and L. Whitfield Jordan of Greenville, S.C. A memorial service was held on Monday, March 18 at 2 p.m.: Morningside Presbyterian Church, Atlanta; reception directly following.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in her honor to The Ovarian Cancer Institute: www.ovariancancerinstitute.org, 960 Johnson Ferry Rd, Suite 130, Atlanta, GA, 30342.