Kathryn Grissam, June 8, 1922 – December 22, 2009 of Minneapolis, was a graduate of North High School, worked for Dayton’s, Young Quinlan and Phyllis Wheatley during her lifetime.
Phyllis Wheatley Community Center has had the honor of counting Kathryn Grissam as a dear and loyal friend for over 70 years. Her many contributions to our community were commemorated on her 75th birthday by then Mayor of Minneapolis, Sharon Sayles-Belton, in a ceremony proclaiming June 8, 1997 as Kathryn Grissam Day in Minneapolis.
The community and Phyllis Wheatley has benefited in immeasurable ways from Ms. Grissam’s life-long relationship with Phyllis Wheatley Community Center. As a young girl, Ms. Grissam spent the formative years of her life, at what was then known as the Phyllis Wheatley House, taking sewing, dancing and etiquette classes among other things. Throughout the years, she helped guide countless young people through her loyal service to Phyllis Wheatley as a life-long volunteer, treasured member of our staff, and finally as the volunteer Chairperson for the Senior Alumni Association. She loved, and had a special bond with “The Wheatley”. Her desire to see the agency thrive and nurture others was a driving passion!
Ms. Grissam had unsurpassed charm and grace, a generous heart, and a warm smile that is remembered fondly by all of us. She had a unique way of helping others feel welcomed and valued. She took much pride in her involvement with Phyllis Wheatley Community Center and was eager to take on special projects such as crafting beautiful centerpieces for agency events. Undeterred by failing health, she insisted on carrying out her responsibilities as Chair of the Senior Alumni Association until her final days. She has blessed us by her tremendous spirit of community.
In honor of Kathryn Grissam’s life-long support of Phyllis Wheatley Community Center, the Board of Directors unanimously resolved to bestow upon Ms. Grissam the honorary title of Director Emeritus. Ms. Grissam is remembered and recognized as a leader and as someone who helped guide our organization through the years. The halls of Phyllis Wheatley are a little emptier today but we take solace in the fact that so many of us were fortunate to be touched by the life of Kathryn Grissam.