In 1988 Grace Aubusson's husband died suddenly, forcing her to take charge of the family business.
She rose to the challenge and in 2006 was the first woman inducted by Dubbo Chamber of Commerce into its Jean Emile Serisier Honour Roll for excellence in business.
Mrs Aubusson blazed a trail for businesswomen in the city when successfully running agricultural spare parts business Aubusson Bearing Centre Dubbo and a branch store in Cobar.
"Mum was humble and I don't think she saw herself like a trailblazer," daughter Yvette Aubusson-Foley told the Daily Liberal.
"She had many, many encounters with customers coming into her business and questioning her ability because she was a woman.
"She was always dignified about it, though it never took them long to work out she was the boss for good reason."
Sadly, Grace McLellan Aubusson, 83, died on April 15 at Bracken House Lavender Lodge dementia unit, where she had lived for almost three years.
A memorial service will be held at St Andrew's Chapel from 11am on Friday, April 23, followed by burial at the Western Districts Cemetery.
Grace Aubusson (nee Orr) was born at Tallimba in 1937 to Scottish immigrant parents.
They settled in the Riverina where a teenage Grace endured the death of her mother from cancer and watched the family home burn down.
Her first job as a secretary, parts assistant and fuel pump operator at a Narrandera business proved life-changing.
"One fateful day she answered the phone to a Patrick Aubusson who worked at Bennett and Barkell spare parts business and he informed her he would 'marry that voice'," Mrs Aubusson-Foley said. "He did."
The nuptials in 1962 were followed by a move to Dubbo in 1964, the same year son Andrew was born.
The couple launched their business in 1974 where Mrs Aubusson built a reputation for integrity and outstanding customer service.
"After-hours service was a major part of our business too and Mum was always willing to help at any hour of the day, be it a truck broken down passing through or a farmer broken down in harvest," Andrew Aubusson said.
Mrs Aubusson also served the community through the Inner Wheel club of Dubbo and the Rotary Club of Dubbo Macquarie. She was a volunteer for the Royal Flying Doctor Service, the Uniting Church and Western Plains Cultural Centre.
Her two children and three grandchildren are remembering Nanna Grace's "beautiful big smile and great sense of humour" along with her advice that "you can always choose not to be diminished by adversity".
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