Grace Dominy Renkens started her 20-year teaching career in a one-room schoolhouse in upstate Leeds, N.Y., at a time when the older children would load the classroom’s coal stove and cook soup for the younger ones’ lunch. She died on June 28 at home on Sherrill Road in East Hampton. She was 97.
Then Grace Dominy, the daughter of John Forest Dominy and the former Lena Werner, left her first teaching job, moving to Wantagh, and obtaining a bachelor’s degree from at New York University in 1936. She had gone first to New Paltz (N.Y.) Teachers College, which had a three-year program.
In 1942, she married Walter Arnold Renkens, a Sag Harbor man, in a ceremony at her family’s house on Lily Pond Lane in East Hampton. Her father, for many years the captain at the Coast Guard station at Georgica Beach, had built the house. Mr. Renkens died ten years ago, and she died on what would have been their 72nd wedding anniversary.
Mrs. Renkens returned to teaching at the John M. Marshall Elementary School in East Hampton, retiring in 1974. She also taught Sunday School for many years at the East Hampton Methodist Church, where a service will be held for her tomorrow at 11 a.m.
Her family said she enjoyed playing the piano, giving sewing classes, and making beach plum jelly and bread-and-butter pickles.
She and her husband were birders and traveled to various parts of the country to add to their life lists. They also went on cruises and on an adventure trip to Alaska that included white-water rafting.
Mrs. Renkens enjoyed events at the East Hampton Town Senior Citizens Center, including its annual 90-and-over party. She was a founding member of the East Hampton Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and a member of the Association of Retired Teachers and the Lost Tribe of Accabonac.
Grace Dominy was born on May 25, 1916. She grew up in East Hampton, graduating from East Hampton High School. A brother, John F. Dominy Jr., died before her.
She is survived by her daughters, Barbara Oeffner of Moore Haven, Fla., and Carol Lubetkin of East Hampton and Moore Haven, as well as four grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, and a niece and nephew.
Her family has suggested memorial donations to the Methodist Church, 35 Pantigo Road, East Hampton 11937, or to East End Hospice, P.O. Box 1048, Westhampton Beach 11978.