Grace E. Martell (Gregory), longtime resident of Westerly, RI and Stonington, CT, passed peacefully on September 22, 2020 at the Westerly Hospital in the care of Hospice and in the loving company of family and friends over the course of her 11-day stay. Just prior to that time, Grace remained her sprightly, no-nonsense but loving and independent self at the age of 98.
Grace was born a Baptist in Wheeling, West Virginia, before her family moved to the Northeast. She was the daughter of Alfred Logan Gregory, a dentist who passed when Grace was very young, and Rebecca Gregory, who was a charge nurse at the Wakefield, RI Hospital. Grace’s strong work ethic followed that of her parents, as evidenced by her longtime employment at Yardney Electric Corporation across the river in Pawcatuck CT, as well as various other jobs, before her retirement. While her work was often hard and hands-on as part of Yardney’s maintenance department, she told proud stories of that company’s role in development and manufacturing that supported aerospace and the U.S. Department of Defense, including the Apollo 9 Space Mission in 1969; and she felt honored to be even a small part of such important efforts. She enjoyed attending services at the Christ Episcopal Church in Westerly, RI. She was a longtime member of the Order of the Eastern Star. In her later years, she volunteered at the Westerly, RI and Pawcatuck, CT Senior Centers.
Grace will be remembered by all for her sharp wit and observations, keen precision as a seamstress and sewer (including cheerful items she would often make for others), her sense of adventure and travel at various stages of her life, her always tidy and seasonally-decorated home (often with things she made with her own hands), meticulous attire, hats and pretty pins on her lapel wherever she went, and her fondness for “Westerns,” beautiful chiming clocks, and romance novels. She was not particularly sentimental, but she had a deep love, appreciation and pride for her immediate and extended family and friends and the lives that she witnessed her children and grandchildren build for themselves. She signed off every phone call, it seemed, by saying, “I love you. I love you all.” All who loved her will miss her strong voice and presence immensely.
With her longevity, Grace survived two husbands (James Seger and William J. Martell), as well as all of her siblings (brother William Gregory, and sisters Phyllis Barry, Marilyn White and Donna Croucher) and even two of her own daughters who were taken too soon (June F. Parker, formerly of East Hartford and Joan A. Martell, formerly of Naples, Florida). Grace is survived by her loving daughters Vonda Gencarella of Westerly, RI and Grace Smith and her husband Wallace Smith of Hope Valley, RI; devoted grandchildren Sheri Assal-Gencarella of Yorba Linda, California, Robert Gencarella Jr. of Westerly, RI, Dawn Smith of Westerly, RI, Raymond Smith and his wife Sharon of Bradford, RI, Tamara Smith Holtslag and her husband Paul Holtslag of Boston, MA, Tonia Beeney and her husband Kevin Beeney, Jr. of North Branford, CT, Joyce Parker and her husband Joel Champany of Pawley’s Island, SC, Peri Parker of Atlanta, GA, Patrick Parker and his wife Brenda of Glastonbury, CT; and also numerous adoring great-grandchildren.
Burial service only at River Bend Cemetery in Westerly, RI at 12:00 pm Friday, September 25, 2020. There will be no calling hours. In lieu of flowers, the family encourages flowers or other tokens of thanks be sent to the staff on the 3rd floor of the Westerly Hospital for their exceptional and kind care of Grace, or donations be made to Home & Hospice Care of Rhode Island or The Westerly Hospital Foundation | 25 Wells St. | Westerly, RI 02891.
For online condolences, please visit www.buckler-johnston.com