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Life comes full circle, back where it began

Grace Corral Everingham marked all her milestones in life in Tampa, but she still sailed the seas and traveled the world.

By JANET LEISER
© St. Petersburg Times
published May 24, 2002


BAYSHORE BEAUTIFUL -- In a world full of change, Sacred Heart Catholic Church was a constant for Grace Corral Everingham.

She was baptized at the grand downtown Tampa church in 1911, when the building was a mere 13 and she was an infant. Forty-one years later, she married on the same altar. There were other happy times: Her only child was baptized at the church, as were her two grandchildren.

Monday, the Rev. Michael Kennelly performed a funeral Mass for Mrs. Everingham in the church she'd belonged to all her life. She was 90 when she died May 15.

Mrs. Everingham was the fourth of Angeles and Manuel Corral's nine children, born in the family's Tampa Heights home.

Her parents had two young children when they moved to Tampa from Spain in the first decade of the 1900s and founded Corral Wodiska y Ca., makers of the Bering cigar. (The company, a Tampa mainstay, was bought by Swisher Sweets in 1986).

As a young woman, Grace Corral studied Latin and philosophy at the Manhattanville College of the Sacred Heart in New York. After graduation, she studied art under the direction of renowned Kimon Nicolaides at the Art Students' League of New York.

But city life wasn't for her and she returned to Tampa to live with her parents.

"My grandmother thought she'd never marry," said her daughter, Allyson Everingham Sheckler.

She was a dedicated sailor with a vessel named The Panic.

In 1952, she was nearly 41 when she married Robert Everingham, 29. They met at a party at the Carlouel Yacht Club on Clearwater Beach.

The couple's only child was born a couple years later.

"Essentially, she dedicated her life to raising me," said Sheckler, an art history teacher at Stonehill College in Easton, Mass.

Mrs. Everingham, a member of the Founders' Garden Circle, was an avid gardener. She often worked in the 1-acre yard of the family's Bayshore Boulevard home, where they had lived since 1958.

"People would come by and she'd be up under the azalea bushes pulling weeds," Sheckler said.

Mrs. Everingham cleaned but didn't cook. That was her husband's specialty.

She tried to make coffee -- once.

She forgot to put coffee grounds in the percolator.

She loved to travel.

In Paris, her daughter and husband took cooking classes while she and son-in-law, Dennis Sheckler, visited the sights.

"She lived a very full, happy life," her daughter said.

In addition to her husband, daughter and grandchildren, she leaves a sister, Flavia Corral De Oliveira of Tampa.

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