BRUNSWICK — In the early 1950s, when most women stayed home to take care of their families, Grace Bean was making a name for herself designing hand-braided and hand-sewn rugs.

“She was a businesswoman at a time when there weren’t any,” said one of her daughters, the Rev. Janet Leighninger. “She would drive to Boston to buy raw wool, and strip it and dye it. That was unheard-of in those days.”

The early success of Mrs. Bean, who died Sunday at age 92, helped set a strong foundation for her life as a loving wife, mother and businesswoman.

On Monday, she was remembered by her family as a creative, intelligent and savvy businesswoman who carried herself with elegance, grace and humility.

In 1969, Mrs. Bean and her husband, George G. Bean, founded G.G. Bean, Inc., a manufacturer of odor neutralizers and specialized cleaning products. An old website says the products were water-based formulas that were enzyme-free, odorless and non-toxic and underwent cruelty-free testing.

The Beans operated the business for 36 years. Some of the products they sold in the U.S. and Canada included the wildly popular Skunk Kleen, Smoke Odor Kleen, Footwear Odor Kleen and Incontinent Kleen.

Mrs. Bean was the business manager, handling administrative duties and marketing. Her husband developed the product formulas.

“She was the glue that held the business together,” her daughter said. “She was wonderful, very competent and efficient. They both were extremely ethical and honest. Their word was their bond. If they told you it would be there on a Thursday afternoon, it would be there on a Thursday afternoon.”

The business closed in 2005, shortly after George Bean died.

The Beans were married for 56 years and raised two children.

Outside the office, Mrs. Bean was a devoted mother who was active in the community and lived life to its fullest.

The Beans lived at Mere Point for many years and enjoyed many trips to Europe, South America and Alaska. And they loved to dance.

“She would rather dance than eat,” Leighninger said. “She and my father dancing was just beauty in motion … effortless and beautiful.”

She said her mother had a great capacity to love, doing small things to let people know she cared about them. She often sent hand-written notes to friends and family. If she heard someone was in the hospital, she brought them flowers.

“She was a lady of great grace so appropriately named,” her daughter said.

Mrs. Bean also was known for the gray wave in the front of her hair. Years ago, when her hair started to turn gray, she left one patch natural and dyed the rest a reddish color.

“It was her way of handling the gray,” her daughter said. “It’s just amazing. She had an innate sense of grace.”

Staff Writer Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at: [email protected]