Mary Grivich


Mary Winifred Corley Grivich, loving wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, went on to Glory in Heaven on Sunday afternoon, May 22, 2016, with a family vigil at her side.

Mary Winifred was born June 9, 1922, in the Elwood Community, near Midway, to Mary Lee (Marsh) and Sherman Lester Corley. She was the oldest of four children born to Mary and Sherman. Following her were siblings: Lawrence “Larry” Corley, Ruby Rose Corley Peck and Ala Ruth Corley Closs.

Winifred was raised on the family farm in the Elwood community, helping with the farm and home chores. Her father also operated a cotton gin in Elwood where she sometimes worked. The family attended Elwood Methodist Church and attended many May Homecoming Picnics on the church grounds. Mary Winifred attended the Elwood School. She graduated from the Midway Rural High School as valedictorian of her 1939 class.

Winifred enrolled into Sam Houston Teachers College on an academic scholarship. She studied home economics and was voted “Freshman Beauty.” It was during this time that Winifred met a very handsome fellow student while studying at the Estill Library. His name was Nick Grivich, and so began their courtship.

Winifred’s studies were interrupted during the war years. Winifred and Nick married on Dec. 23, 1942, in Beaumont, while he was on a short leave from army officer training. Winifred raised a victory garden, owned and wore one pair of shoes, and taught school on an emergency certificate while her husband-soldier served in the European Theater during World War II.

After the end of the war, Winifred and Nick returned to Sam Houston Teachers College in Huntsville to work on their education. Winifred completed her undergraduate degree in home economics, and Nick, thanks to the GI Bill, received a master’s degree in education.

Winifred and Nick lived and worked in the Liberty and Elkart communities for a few years, but mainly raised their family in Winnie, where Winifred taught school, and Nick was principal and superintendent of schools for the East Chambers Consolidated ISD from 1956-1978.

Winifred devoted her working life to teaching elementary students, eventually becoming a reading specialist. Countless students gained a love of reading and learning from Winifred’s teaching dedication. She was also instrumental in founding the public library in Winnie.

Her sewing machine was busy making clothes for her children and costumes for their plays. Both Winifred and Nick were involved in all the school events and very involved in the community and St. Louis Catholic Church in Winnie.

After retirement, Winifred and Nick built a new home on the family farm and returned to Madison County to live in the Elwood community. For the next ten years, they would work at the Madisonville Hospital in Madisonville. Winifred was director of the Volunteers, and both Winifred and Nick worked as volunteers at the hospital. Winifred was actively involved in the Madisonville Retired School Personnel Association and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church.

Winifred was a beautiful lady with strong work ethics and courageous resolve. She loved to garden, sew, paint and read. She was very talented and creative, making many lap quilts for others. She was an excellent cook, just like her mother. Winifred loved her family, and she loved helping people. She was a “child of the Great Depression” and a “member of the Greatest Generation.” As a result, Mary Winifred was a strong woman of grit and grace.

After the death of her husband, Winifred spent her advanced years residing at Ella Smither Nursing Home and later at the Methodist Retirement Community: Creekside, Huntsville.

Mary Winifred is survived by her three children, one son and two daughters: Pat Grivich and wife Terrie of Huntsville; Leanne Grivich Woodward and husband Mac of Huntsville; and Julie Grivich Benkoski and husband Harold of Austin.

Winifred is survived by grandchildren: Shane Grivich (and wife Dallas), Ryan Grivich, Anne Woodward Castaneda (and husband Anthony), Wilbourn Woodward, step-grandchildren Erik Anderson and Ryan Anderson (and wife Natalie).

She is also survived by great-grandchildren: Maizy Grivich, Cash Grivich, Walter Castaneda, and step-great-grandchild Huxley Anderson.

She is survived by one sister: Ala Ruth Corley Closs of Madisonville, Texas who is now residing at MRC Creekside, Huntsville. Winifred is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews and extended family members and friends.

Winifred was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Nick; her parents, Sherman and Mary Corley; her brother, Larry Corley, Sr.; her sister, Rose Peck; and many extended family members.

Pallbearers are Pat Grivich, Mac Woodward, Harold Benkoski, Wilbourn Woodward, Larry Corley Jr. and Clyde Parker.

A visitation and memorial service for Mary Winifred will be held at Sam Houston Memorial Funeral Home in Huntsville, on Tuesday, May 24. The visitation will begin at 1 p.m., and the chapel service will immediately follow at 2 p.m. The caravan will leave the SHMFH chapel and proceed to the graveside services, which will take place at Allphin Cemetery on FM 2346 in Elwood, Madison County, near the Old San Antonio Road. Deacon Burke Landry will officiate the services.

The family would like to thank the tremendously loving care of the staff at Creekside, Huntsville. They always went above and beyond to make Winifred’s last earthly home a place of care, love, and laughter. Creekside was a blessing. The care of Heart-To-Heart Hospice was a blessing, too.

In lieu of flowers, those wishing to make a gift in memory of Mary Winifred Corley Grivich are asked to contribute to a scholarship fund at any public school or to a scholarship fund at Sam Houston State University.

Arrangements are being handled by Sam Houston Memorial Funeral Home.

Revelation 21:4 – “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes, there shall be no more death, nor sorrow nor crying, and there shall be no more pain.”