“You’d never see them not holding hands. It was so sweet, and it’s really a great love story,” Kelly Grenier Riley says of her grandparents, Alice Roe-Grenier and Leo Grenier.
Alice, a ninth generation descendant of Roger Williams, was born in Cranston in 1914 to I. Percy and Florence (Williams) Roe. Though born into a fortunate life, she was also bound to a life of duty to her parents, a responsibility which did not release her until she was 62 years old.
In the meantime, Alice pursued her education where she found both solace and joy. She graduated from Cranston High School in 1932, earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Pembroke College (then the all-female college of Brown University), and a master’s degree in education from Rhode Island College in 1950. She taught at her alma mater, Cranston High School, from 1937 until her retirement in 1962.
“She loved being a math teacher. Geometry was her favorite subject to teach,” granddaughter Kelly relates.
Alice began a lifelong commitment to community service through the Oaklawn Grange in 1928. There she filled numerous leadership roles over the next 80 years, including treasurer, chaplain, overseer, and president. She lived by the fraternal order’s motto: “In Essentials Unity, In Non-Essentials Liberty, In All Things Charity.”
Throughout her life, Alice also traveled extensively, visiting countless countries around the world. “But it should come as no surprise that it was at home, in Cranston, in her Grange hall that she finally found love,” Kelly said. Alice met Leo in the Oaklawn Grange.
The couple courted for five years and married in 2000, when Alice was 86 years young. They lived in Cranston, in the same house that Alice’s parents built in 1913. “Cranston has always been home for Alice, and she was immensely proud of her city,” her granddaughter reflects.
Through her estate plans, Alice established a scholarship fund for a female student at Brown University to study mathematics, with preference to students who are graduates of Cranston High School East or Cranston High School West.