The May Queen.
Her father was a Bohemian. Not the hip kind, but the kind descended from a hardscrabble slip of a village south of Prague, where people still claim their lost kingdom. Her mother descended from a poor Irish farming couple that produced eight hungry daughters. They first arrived here in 1886 with absolutely nothing to lose. By the grace of this great country, this wonderful city, and their unyielding toil, their grandchildren were able to create a life unimaginable to their forebears…and a beautiful daughter. On Saturdays she walked with her father to Eastern market, the hen that accompanied their return to 1908 T St SE would peck through their small back yard until it became the centerpiece at Sunday dinner. There was a bathtub on the back porch, whoever was cleanest on Saturday afternoon bathed first, because she now had a younger brother.
Fiercely devout, Marie Patricia Hruska excelled at The Immaculate Conception Academy. She was Patsy, actually it seemed they were all Patsy, maybe an occasional Theresa. In her junior year the entire class was recruited for telephone operator positions upon graduation, a testament to their courtesy, diligence and work ethic. Patsy dearly loved the city; her relatives were now streetcar conductors, telephone linemen, and milliners. She was crowned May Queen of the Immaculate Conception Academy to the delight of all T street. The Washington Post reported “We are proud to say that Miss Patricia Hruska of (the) 1900 block of T St. who grew up to be a lovely young lady has been chosen Queen of May for the procession at the Immaculate Conception Academy on May 15th.” I wish I had been there.
On a balmy summer twilight in 1950 Tommy Grieg’s Indian motorcycle slipped by the Nicholson Avenue bus, his gaze fell on Patsy and he was captured. He followed her home in a more innocent city. She refused to speak or even glance at him. Over the next few months he impressed her mother deeply with his courtesy and his perseverance. Patsy steadfastly ignored her mother’s permission for an introduction; he was from Capitol Heights, a roughneck from a dangerous neighborhood. Even though Tommy’s father was the mayor who had shut down nine bars, and was on a personal mission to clean up his neighborhood, she saw Thomas Scott Grieg as a hoodlum biker, and well, he kind of was. Often hearing this from her mother Tom casually mentioned that he wasn’t just a biker, he owned five cars. If she had seen them she would not have been so impressed. She asked if he had a convertible, “of course” he smiled. That was all Mrs. Hruska needed, so that night Tom cut the top off of one of his jalopies, brilliant as usual with his hands.
Patsy walked to the Atlantic theater with Tom that week, one time and only one time, and only to end her mother’s entreaties. Then she changed his life forever. And a new journey was born. We will all miss her dearly.
Born February 23,1931. Died January 13, 2018.
Marie (Patti) Grieg raised 3 children. With her strength, her faith and her good humor she created a home and a life for all of us, and so many others.
Married to Thomas Scott Grieg on June 13, 1952
Divorced September 1994.
Her dear brother, Joseph Leo Hruska, and her nephew Gregory Hruska preceded her in death.
She is survived by her ex-husband and friend, Thomas Scott Grieg.
She is survived by 3 children
Gary Steven Grieg of Washington DC
Timothy Scott Grieg of Ft Myers FL
Susan Patricia Grieg of Springfield VA
She is survived by 4 Grandchildren
Ashley Marie Grieg of Appalachicola FL
Bryan Keith Shirley of Lorton VA
Eric Thomas Shirley of Springfield VA
Kevin Patrick Shirley of Springfield VA
She is survived by 2 nieces.
Lynn Day of Fredericksburg VA
Rhonda Hruska of Phoenix AZ
And many, many cousins and admirers.
Friends may call at Advent Funeral Services 7211 Lee Hwy. Falls Church, VA 22046. On Thursday, January 18, 2018 from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Graveside Services will be held on Friday, January 19, at 11:45 am at Fairfax Memorial Park.