Alice Grace Chalip

ChalipAlice Grace Chalip, 90, on October 15, 2020, in Alameda, Calif. Alice was born on June 30, 1930, to Morris Getz Grace from Philadelphia, Pa., and Mary Margaret Cornell from Montgomery, Ala. Growing up in Greater Los Angeles, Calif., Alice was involved in the entertainment industry. She danced, sang, and performed in theatre; she also modeled and appeared as an extra in many films. Although those experiences helped shape her early life, Alice found more meaning while serving others. She felt strongly that she served God best when she served people.

In 1949, Alice was delighted to discover that her voice teacher, Bernard “Bernie” Chalip, disliked Hollywood as much as she did. They eloped in 1951, leaving the commercial entertainment industry forever. Following the birth of their son, Laurence, the family moved to Berkeley, Calif., where Alice completed her bachelor’s degree in education. After graduation, she was employed as a fourth-grade teacher.

When the Parent Teacher Association at the elementary school Laurence was attending in Berkeley needed to raise funds, Alice persuaded the PTA to create an amateur theatre group, which they called the Jefferson Players. The troupe successfully produced several plays and musicals, including scripts written by Alice.

Alice knitted garments for the family during Laurence’s swim meets. She tolerated Bernie’s passion for baseball, becoming a batgirl for one of his softball teams.

Alice quit teaching when she and Bernie decided to become long-term foster parents. They parented three girls and one boy. Alice wrote about her experiences as a foster parent in her book, To Love and Let Go. Their foster son, Michael Powers, grew up in Berkeley (Calif.) Meeting, where he attended First-day school. Michael remained close to Alice until her death.

Alice was active in the community. She wrote reviews and interviews for an East Bay newspaper syndicate for almost 63 years. She wrote and directed The Freedom Festival, which was her largest theatrical undertaking. She was active in the civil rights and antiwar movements and was a housing tester, posing as a prospective renter through the Fair Housing Testing Program within the Housing and Civil Enforcement Section of the U.S. Department of Justice. 

Alice’s spiritual life was central to her throughout her life. She was involved in Berkeley Meeting from the 1950s and became a member on March 19, 1961. Alice was a former clerk of the meeting and participated until her late 70s, when age and widowhood made it impossible for her to commute from Alameda.

When Bernie retired, he and Alice created a singing act they called “From Showtunes to Broadway.” They performed around the San Francisco Bay Area for several years, mostly at retirement homes. They never took money for their performances, insisting instead that payment should go to programs for the homeless. Alice and Bernie also organized Friendly Follies for Berkeley Meeting and often performed together there. Bernie died on April 1, 2008.

Alice is survived by her son, Laurence Chalip; her foster son, Michael Powers; and a brother, Morris Grace.

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