Ingram leaves handprint on Troy community

Published 11:00 pm Monday, February 27, 2012

Grace Ingram left her handprint on dozens of young people in the Pike County community and an empty spot in the hearts of hundreds of people of all ages.

Ingram, owner of Ingram’s Curb Market in Troy, died Friday at the age of 90.

She had worked the day before at the business she and her husband, Jack, opened 52 years ago. At age 90, she had the spunk of one half her age and the wisdom of one twice her age.

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“Grace Ingram was one of the finest people I have ever known,” said Willie Mae Hobbs, a longtime neighbor. “Only good things can be said about her.”

Hobbs said Ingram was a hard worker and enjoyed being in “the market.”

“We didn’t get to visit like we used to but Grace was always a good neighbor and I enjoyed her. I could not have asked for a better neighbor and there was not a better person.”

Hobbs’ daughter, Debra Davis, knew Ingram as an employer, a next-door neighbor and the mother of a friend.

Davis gave her high marks as all three.

“Mrs. Ingram was my first employer as she was for so many young people before and since me,” Davis said. “She employed a lot of young people and, then years later, their children. She provided us with a financial opportunity and an opportunity to learn about business and the way to treat people. It’s the principle of doing the right thing that keeps good customers and Mrs. Ingram knew how to do the right thing and she did the right thing.”

Davis characterized Ingram as the most noble, hardworking person she has ever known.

“Mrs. Ingram never raised her voice and was always an encourager,” she said. “She set a great example of how to operate a business and how to treat customers.”

Ingram made jobs available to high school and college students and worked their schedules so that they could also participate in extracurricular activities.

“She was very accommodating,” Davis said. “If you were in the band, she made sure that your work schedule didn’t conflict with practice time. She was a kind and caring ‘boss.’”

Of all the things that young people learned from Ingram, Davis said it was that treating people right is the right way to run a business.

“If you do, you’ll have loyal customers,” Davis said. “Mrs. Ingram treated everyone right and her customers were loyal. My family was shopping there when she gave me my first job working the ‘icee’ machine when I was 14 and still shops there today.”

Davis said Grace Ingram was active in the community as a member of the Pilot Club and other organizations. She was a longtime supporter of the school and always purchased advertising in yearbooks and athletic programs.

“Mrs. Ingram was a strong advocate for helping young people all the way around,” Davis said. “She made a difference in the lives of hundreds and hundreds of young people and we will always remember her.

“Other than my mom, Grace Ingram had the greatest influence on my life. Genuinely, Grace is the perfect name for her.”