Grace Rumball

St. John’s, Newfoundland

March 3, 2007

Photo Credit
Science North, Sudbury

Grace Rumball was familiar to people in the Sudbury area both on television and radio. Over the years she could be seen as television hostess on a variety of talk shows.

She was born in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Her mother died when she was only four years of age. Her father, Charles Wolsley Johnson, a baker, moved the family to North Bay when Grace was still very young. She had a sister, Faith. When Grace moved to Sudbury for employment she met Reg Rumball who would become the love of her life. They would marry and raise a family in Sudbury.

It seems there was never a time when Grace Rumball was not busy or active with some cause. Having three children of her own, she was active in home and school volunteer work. Both on the local and provincial level, she worked diligently with the Home and School Associations. Her 20 years of dedicated service earned Grace the Sapphire Pin for outstanding service to the Ontario Home and School Association in 1963.

Rumball served on the feasibility committee to establish a museum and arts centre. This would result in the establishment of Laurentian Museum and Arts Centre as a centennial project in Sudbury. Rumball also served three years as a member of the Extension Committee of the Royal Ontario Museum. At home she was a member of the Sudbury Theatre Centre Board for nine years. Rumball was also a member of the Cambrian College Board of Governors for a period of seven years.

Grace Rumball has been praised for her many contributions to the development of Science North. She became a member of the Science North Board of Trustees in November 1982 and served on the Fundraising and Property, Finance and Official Opening Committees. Rumball was responsible for plans of the Queen’s visit in October of 1984. Grace went on to chair the Food Services Committee during her tenure on the board and is credited with playing a large part in establishing excellent food service at Science North.

As well, Mrs. Rumball served as Science North’s Goodwill Ambassador at Large having represented the board at many important Science North special events. Even though she resigned her seat from the board in May of 1990, she continued to volunteer as a member of the Property and Finance Committee.

Grace helped out with Sudbury United Way, the Association for Community Living, the Red Cross Society, the Sudbury Historical Society of which she held the honour of being a charter member, the Memorial Hospital Auxiliary and the Sudbury Multicultural Association. Grace was truly committed to making Sudbury a better place in which to live and work.

Rumball also kept busy by being active in the Liberal Party of Canada at the local, provincial and federal levels.

She was only 49 years of age when her husband Reg passed away. At this point in her life she decided to enter the world of broadcasting and she would host her own television show on CKSO, called “Today”. Grace and her show became very popular as she interviewed everyone from Prime Ministers to local native people and rock stars.

Grace Rumball passed away in her 90th year on March 3, 2007 at Finlandia Hoivakoti following a short illness. She was survived by her sons, Richard of England and Michael married to Gloria Schwartzentruber of Toronto, and a daughter, Carole married to Joe Lesar (of Joe Lesar Men’s Wear fame), of Sudbury. She also left behind three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Grace’s work and strong belief in the power of positive communication inspired her family to provide financial assistance in the form of a bursary in support of students enrolled at Laurentian University’s Science Communication program. Grace left behind a legacy of ‘duty to serve’ and to help those less fortunate.

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