Thorpe, Grace: Daughter of Jim Thorpe passes on

Claremore, Oklahoma (AP) 4-08

Grace Thorpe, the daughter of Olympic great and Oklahoma native Jim Thorpe who was a tribal judge and an anti-nuclear activist in her own right, passed away April 1, according to her family.

Grace Thorpe died of heart failure at the Claremore Veterans Center, her granddaughter, Tena Mallotte, said. Grace Thorpe was 86.

Grace Thorpe was born Dec. 10, 1921, to James Francis Thorpe and Iva Margaret Miller, in Yale. Besides being the daughter of a sports legend, Grace Thorpe was a direct descendent of Sac and Fox chief Black Hawk and was of Potawatomi, Kickapoo, and Menominee heritage, according to Park Brothers Funeral Service, which is handling memorial arrangements.

Grace Thorpe also was a World War II veteran, having served as a WAC (Women’s Army Corps) corporal in New Guinea, the Philippines, and Japan.

She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, and a paralegal degree from the Antioch School of Law in Washington, D.C. Thorpe served as a tribal district court judge, according to the funeral home.

Thorpe also was an Urban Fellow of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and completed MBA course work at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah.

Grace Thorpe served as a congressional liaison to the U.S. House of Representatives American Indian Policy Review Commission and was a personnel interviewer for Gen. Douglas MacArthur at his headquarters in Tokyo during the occupation of Japan, according to information provided by the funeral home.

She also was known as a champion of the environment, serving as director for the National Environmental Coalition of Native Americans (NECONA).

Her published writings included “Our Homes are not Dumps: Creating Nuclear Free Zones” and “My Father Jim Thorpe: World’s Greatest Athlete.”

Grace Thorpe is survived by a sister and three brothers. Her father, Jim Thorpe, died in 1953 at age 65.