Mary Grace Cericola Henry (MG), age 80, of Leesburg, Va. departed this life for her Eternal home on September 5, 2017. In her last months as she battled advanced cancer, Multiple Myeloma, she looked to her Lord Jesus Christ for strength, sustenance, and guidance. She showed His love to those she met and lived life with intention till the very end - reading her Bible, praying, and playing her beloved piano and conversing with her family and friends.
Mary Grace (MG) Henry was a dedicated soul on earth, not only with her love of Jesus Christ and unwavering daily readings from the Bible, but of her long and faithful career as an Elementary Music teacher in Fairfax County. MG taught Music for over 40 years in Fairfax County, ending with 26 years at Bonnie Brae Elementary School. Having followed her beloved Principal, Kay Eckler, to open the new Bonnie Brae Elementary in 1988 and eventually teaming with co-teacher, Susan Murray, who became her BFF, MG remained until retirement in 2014. While there she joined with Polly Barlow to establish ongoing weekly prayer meetings which continued throughout her life.
As an exceptionally talented pianist and composer, MG greatly enriched the lives of not only students K-6, but also the teachers and families of Bonnie Brae students. She emphasized the joy of learning and performing Music, including performances by her Choruses and participation by all 2nd and 5th graders in full length musicals, such as "The Wizard of Oz" and "Oklahoma!". In approximately 1995, MG was nominated by her peers for “Teacher of the Year" at Bonnie Brae due to her dedication, creativity and inspiration afforded all the students of the school.
Along with a 2nd grade teacher, Rivka Safferson, MG created original musicals for 2nd grade, which were curriculum based and instructional as well as highly entertaining. MG directed a 4th Grade Chorus and Speech Choir as part of the annual Bonnie Brae Veterans' Day Celebration and she and the students were featured on the evening local TV news twice. As an inspirational director and Music instructor, MG inspired many students to continue their music participation in Intermediate, High School and college.
MG was a gifted composer, creating pieces to be learned, performed and enjoyed by not only students, but by retiring faculty, and school community celebrations. Her wit and great sense of humor was often evident in her Music. The memory of MG's unselfish sharing of her musical knowledge, personality, creative talents and love of children will live on through her former (over 8000) students and co-workers - and perhaps many can still hear the school song, which MG composed, ”Oh Here's to Bonnie, Bonnie Brae!".
She was preceded in death by her, Mother, Anna (Orlando) and Father, Alexander Cericola, Sr. of Batavia, N.Y. and brother, Eugene A. Cericola of Boynton Beach, Fla. She is survived by her brother, Alexander Cericola, his wife Antoinette, and nieces and nephews of Fla. and N.J. as well as cousins and their families of her home state of New York.
MG became a long-time family member of her home church, CCI of Leesburg, Va. There she served as pianist and contributed spiritual writings to thedailylily.com among using her gifts faithfully at all times. Since her retirement, she participated in Sunday School and a prayer group of Leesburg Community Church as well as other prayer groups. In the last months of life, she was a resident in Heritage Hall, Leesburg, Va. where she made many new friends.
She was loved by many and she loved well. She will be greatly missed.
Contributions may be made to: Capitol Caring Hospice, Attn. Resource Development, 2900 Tilestar Ct, Falls Church, VA 22042 in honor of Mary Grace Henry; or email Debi Chaves at firstname.lastname@example.org to contribute to a memorial garden for The Adler Hospice Center www.capitalcaring.org/adler-home/ and other garden spots in our community to leave MG's memory.