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Getting to know: Lorna Grenadier

 | Published on 7/27/2013
Lorna Grenadier has loved life in Foggy Bottom since she arrived in the early 1970s to take a job with the US Department of Justice.

She left just once — for love — and didn’t stay away long.

Lorna is a founding board member of the Village. “I prize my own independence and appreciate it in others,” she said. “I like making connections and putting people together.”

Lorna comes from an Air Force family, which meant growing up in Texas, Michigan and North Dakota. She was graduated from the University of Texas, Austin, and thought the academic life might be for her. That took her to Penn, where in the course of getting an MA in poli sci, she changed her focus.

What suited her perfectly was the U.S. DOJ, where she began a 35-year career. Starting in the Civil Rights Division. Lorna investigated employment discrimination in both government and business in the early days of the Civil Rights Act. It was an exciting role that took her all over the country looking at hiring in airlines, trucking, steel and state governments and testifying in court when actions were brought.

Later, she moved to the criminal side, where she assisted crime victims whose liberties were violated. Lorna rose to a supervisory level, where she became a facilitator who kept things in order and cut through red tape. And she traveled widely conducting training classes on modern slavery and other issues.

Along the way, she became a volunteer at the Kennedy Center, including the KC Honors. There she met Tony Thomas, the longtime Honors announcer. She recalls their first meeting as “just a conversation,” but it must have been quite a good one because six weeks later he wrote inviting her to visit and ultimately to live with him in Los Angeles.

She decamped to the West Coast with him for three years until his death.

While in California, she decided Washington had everything she wanted in retirement — lots to do, public transportation and interesting people, so in 1997 Lorna came back to DC and the DOJ.

Since retiring, she consults for both the Departments of State and Justice and serves as an advisor to IOFA (International Organization for Adolescents). She has served on the board of her apartment cooperative Potomac Plaza. She is a docent at the National Portrait Gallery and ushers at the Kennedy Center and the Shakespeare Theatre.

Why she supports FBWE Village: “I believe each person finds a place that speaks to an inner self. Even after 40 years, with FBWE’’s interesting people, beautiful spaces, diverse activities, and a growing sense of community, my love is here to stay. Who could ask for anything more?”
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