Grace Frances Hugo, 91, of Aberdeen, and formerly of Elk Grove, Calif., passed away from congestive heart failure Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021, at Mother Joseph Manor in Aberdeen.
Grace Frances Sweeney was born Dec. 27, 1929, to Donna (Fisher) Sweeney and Dr. James T. Sweeney on the grounds of Stockton State Hospital (Calif.) where the family lived and her father worked as resident dentist.
She attended St. Agnes School in Stockton before moving to Lodi, Calif.
In 1947, she graduated from Lodi High School.
She then attended College of the Pacific before being accepted into the fledgling dental hygiene program at the University of Southern California. She graduated in 1951.
On Sept. 1, 1951, she married Richard Mathias Hugo at the Ventura Mission in Ventura, Calif. They made their home in Ventura but after an earthquake, they relocated to the Bay Area.
In 1966, the family moved to Elk Grove, California. Grace lived in Elk Grove for 48 years before moving to Aberdeen, S.D.
She worked as a dental hygienist for 40 years in the Bay Area, Sacramento and Lodi.
In Elk Grove, she served as president of the Democratic Women’s Club, edited a newsletter for the California Dental Hygienist Association and marketed features to newspapers throughout California.
She demonstrated proper dental hygiene to school children in the classroom and lobbied legislators to allow hygienists to practice independently.
She was active in local politics, leading a campaign to save trees in Elk Grove and fighting over-development.
She was an avid bridge player.
She survived a near-drowning in childhood, beat ovarian cancer (30 years cancer free), and overcame a 2004 heart attack.
Mostly, she was a beautiful and loving mom to her three children.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her brother Dr. James M. Sweeney of Lodi, Calif.; and her husband.
Survivors include sons Mark (Vickie) Hugo of Bakersfield, Calif., and Karl Erich Hugo of Taos, N.M.; daughter Donna (Art) Marmorstein of Aberdeen; nine grandchildren [Robert, Grace (Becky), Miranda, Victor, Kenny, Richard, Michael, James and Laurelyn (Joy)] and 17 great-grandchildren.
Her wishes were for cremation, and the family will hold a private celebration of life Friday.