Grace Atherton, namesake of Arlington’s Atherton Elementary, Dies at Age 103
By Susan Schrock
Posted on June 15, 2016, June 15, 2016

Grace Atherton

Mrs. Grace Atherton, a former teacher and one of Arlington Independent School District' s first female principals, passed away just months after celebrating her 103rd birthday at the elementary school named for her and her late husband, Bob.

Mrs. Atherton was a teacher at Speer Elementary and also the first female principal at the school now known as Veda Knox Elementary. She had designed a curriculum for the school, which was designated for special education students.

She also worked in central administration as a consultant training teachers in the district to work with learning-disabled students.

Mrs. Atherton, born in Sulpher Springs, met her husband Bob while attending Wesley Methodist College in Greenville. She went on to earn her bachelor' s and master' s degrees from East Texas State Teachers School, now Texas A&M University-Commerce, and became certified to work with children with learning disabilities.

She married Bob Atherton in 1939 and the couple and their two children moved to Arlington in 1952.

Atherton Elementary opened in 1977. Mr. Atherton, a career principal, died two years later.

Mrs. Atherton, known as 'Amazing Grace ' by some, served in numerous leadership positions and earned many awards during her career in education. Among her many accomplishments, she was nominated as Arlington' s Woman of the Year in 1968 and received the first PTA lifetime membership at Atherton Elementary School.

Besides serving as president of the Arlington State Teachers' Association and the first elected president of the Eta Upsilon chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma, Mrs. Atherton was an active member of the Arlington Woman' s Club and Arlington Retired Teachers' Club. She was also a 50-year Lifetime member of the Eastern Star, an active member of the National Storytelling League and an active member of the First United Methodist Church for more than 55 years.

Mrs. Atherton was also elected outstanding senior citizen of Arlington in 1980 based on volunteer work and was recipient of the Cooper Award from the Arlington Womans Club in 2008.

In 2013, Atherton Elementary held a celebration for Mrs. Atherton' s 100th birthday.

Then in February of this year, Mrs. Atherton returned for another visit to her namesake school, where staff and students greeted her with a party for her 103rd birthday. She was treated to a parade through the halls, cards, flowers, musical performances and, of course, a cake.

Pictures from the celebration can be viewed here.

Grace Atherton

Arlington ISD
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