May 31, 1928 ~ February 28, 2019

Born in: Chicago, Illinois
Resided in: Lakewood, Colorado

Grace G. Kimak, 90, passed away peacefully in her home in Lakewood, Colorado, on Thursday, February 28, 2019, following a swift battle with acute myeloid leukemia. She was supported and comforted by her loving family and caregivers during the last days of her life.

Grace was born on May 31,1928 in Chicago, Illinois to parents John and Della Gratkins, a WWI Veteran and tailor with Hart Schaffner Marx, and a city hospital nurse, bothdeceased. She graduated from Loretto Academy in 1946, married, and had two children.

She worked as an elementary school teacher from the Midwest to Florida where she met Robert Kimak, an aerospace engineer. They married on August 11, 1967, creating a blended family of seven children. After living in Orlando and Huntsville, Alabama while Robert worked on the Skylab project, they moved to Colorado and were happily married for 38 years until his death in 2005.

Grace graduated from Rollins College in 1973, with honors, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Education. She was a board member for Metro State College and Denver Public Schools, among other affiliations. Grace received her Master of Arts in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix in 1985.

Having experience from classroom to board, Grace a vision to offer parents a unique choice in education, and started her own private K-8 school.

With the support of many friends, parents and colleagues, she founded St. John’s Academy in 1981 in Denver, Colorado, funding its start with her own finances. The school was dedicated to “creating a community in which each child can experience the values of acceptance, love, sharing, and caring”. Located within the marble halls of St. John’s Cathedral at 1313 Clarkson Street, SJA opened with an initial enrollment of about 140 students.

In 1986, SJA relocated to 930 Acoma Street. The school thrived in its central Denver home, remaining there for nine years. In 1995, SJA became Montclair Academy and relocated to the Lowry campus as one of its first tenants. Grace Kimak Hall was named in her honor. She left the school in 1997 and was principal of Littleton Academy before retiring from her career in 1999.

Grace was a leader, mentor and beloved friend to a brilliant cadre of educators, colleagues, parents and students for 40 years. Through her inspiration and generosity, Grace encouraged the personal growth of others and their career paths. Countless students and parents passed through the doors each school year, and many kept in touch with her long after graduation.

Remarkably, Grace found time on her weekends to become a licensed private pilot and was a Squadron Commander and Captain with the Civil Air Patrol in the 1980s. She and Robert, also a pilot, flew Cessna aircraft on search and rescue missions. They learned to sail, and, while in their seventies, scuba. Avid travelers, they visited many countries with family and friends.

After retirement, Grace was involved in several groups including the PEO Organization. which promotes educational opportunities for women worldwide, and the Widowed Men & Women of America, which provides social outreach for surviving spouses. Grace is survived by her children and their spouses, Sandra (Randal) Damiana, Robert (Cornelia Burns) Stewart, Elizabeth (Richard Henderlight) Kimak; stepchildren and their families; grandchildren Alex Damiana and Catherine Stewart; Shana (Robert) Armentano, and great grandson Bryce; her loving brother John “Jack” Gratkins; and niece and nephew, Eileen Gratkins and John Gratkins.

A Celebration of Grace’s life will be held from 2-3:30p, on Thursday, March 14, 2019, in the reception room at Horan & McConaty located at 3101 S. Wadsworth Boulevard in Lakewood, Colorado.

The family is creating a scholarship fund in Grace’s honor. To help with memorial contributions, please visit:



Celebration of Life: March 14, 2019 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

Horan & McConaty - SW Denver/Lakewood
3101 S. Wadsworth Blvd.
Lakewood, CO 80227

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  1. Our family wishes you comfort now and in the days to come.
    We were very blessed to be a part of Grace’s wonderful Montclair Academy. Our son and our two nieces attended Montclair. It was a wonderful vision fulfilled and served so many families in the community. May she rest in joy and peace.

  2. Grace was a wonderful friend and an excellent Mah John player in our group
    We will miss her very much – Her smile and laughter especially

  3. My wishes to you for peace, comfort and wonderful memories of a very special person. I worked closely with Grace for many years and I truly value her friendship and her dedication to St. John’s/Montclair. She will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved her.

  4. Grace made such a difference in my life. She hired me as a teacher when I moved here from Oklahoma. She was so warm and welcoming. She made a difficult time in my life so much easier. Love to grace LimakRip Janet awan

  5. Grace…. Mentor, friend, “sister”, role model, confidante, “partner in crime” are just a few words that describe what this incredible woman was to us. What started as a professional relationship grew into an enduring bond and friendship that lasted over thirty years. As an educational leader, Grace mentored, gently guided and led by example. Not only did her leadership, encouragement and support provide the impetus for Linda to expand and grow professionally, they served as the model for her own principalship. Throughout our years of friendship, along with Bob, the four of us shared many adventures, much laughter, a few tears, and solved the problems of the world several times over more than a few bottles of wine while sitting in front of our fireplace! Our lives are forever enriched by that friendship. Although we are deeply saddened by Grace’s passing, we find joy in the many wonderful memories and comfort in knowing that she is finally at peace, sailing through eternity with Bob.

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