Grace Marie was born May 23, 1946 to the late Mr. Benton Bullard and Mrs. Essie B. Bullard in Hammond, Indiana. She was called home to rest on February 6, 2018 at 2:43 p.m., at this time her health challenges were traded for God’s peace and promises. Grace’s early years were spent with her late grandparents, the beloved Mr. Julius and Mother Quintelar Emery in Chatham, La. where she accepted Christ at an early age under their loving guidance. As a youth, Grace was baptized by the late Elder C. H. Harris of Trinity Church of God In Christ. She later joined her parents, Mr. Frank and Mother Essie B. Thompson in Oakdale, La. where she continued in faith at the First Church of God in Christ under the leadership of Elder A. C. Abram.
“I was glad when they said unto me let us go into the house of the Lord” - Psalm 122:1
Grace attended Allen High School and graduated in 1964. After graduating, she moved to Gary, Indiana with family to further her education and pursue gainful employment. In March of 1966, Grace was united in holy matrimony to James L. Chandler of East Chicago, Indiana. They had two children, Yolanda and Shawn.
Later in life, she was wed to Lamont Alston of Gary, Indiana. Together they had three children, Frederick, Stacy and Shalunda.
Grace was a faithful member of Zion Missionary Baptist Church of East Chicago, Indiana under the leadership of Pastor Emeritus Rev. Dr. J. C. Wade, Jr. and the current Rev. Dr. Charles L. Thompson, Jr.. Grace walked a life of faith and held many ministerial roles in and out of the church. She was a member of the Mission Ministry, Usher Board, Media Ministry, a Children’s Choir Worker and the bus ministry. Known to many as “Ms. Grace”, she was “driven” to get people to the house of God come rain or shine.
Making retail history, Grace was the first Black Sales Associate and register clerk at an upscale retailer in East Chicago, Indiana. She also held key positions at St. Catherine’s Hospital and the East Chicago Housing Authority where she was well respected and loved by many because of her spirit of excellence and genuine compassion for others.
Grace is preceded in death by her father, Mr. Benton and baby sister Neldia Fay Bullard. In addition to her “daddy” and her rearing father, Mr. Frank Thompson, Jr. and her brothers Larry Joe and Tommy Glen Thompson.
Grace leaves to cherish her memory, her mother, Essie Thompson of Oakdale, LA.; children Yolanda Joseph of Sugarland, TX, Shawn Chandler, Frederick (Shameka) Alston of Gary, IN, Stacy Holden of East Chicago, IN and Shalunda (Darnell) Collins of Indianapolis, IN.; God-daughter, Dannisha Liggins of Indianapolis, IN; three brothers, Frankey (Paula) Bullard and Sammy (Alice) Thompson, both of Houston, TX, and Benton B. Bullard of Choudrant, LA.; sister Denetra (Bruce) Anderson of Ruston, LA; Sister-in-Love, Linda Thompson of Oberlin, LA; five aunts, including a “special aunt” Margaret (Samuel Sr.) Morris of Lake, MS, Naomi Emery of Gary, IN, Ola Emery of Hobart, IN, Tella Bullard of Hammond, IN and Rosie Bullard of Houston, TX; four uncles, Oscar and Olester Emery, both of Gary, IN, A.J. Emery of Crown Point, IN and Freddie Emery of Hammond, IN.; grandchildren Temperance, Marrissa, Miracle, Jaleecia, Jaron, Jr. and Jer’rae, Jalen, Tyler, Kevin, and Darnell
She also leaves behind a host of cousins, nieces, nephews, family and many, many dear friends