Grayce Matilda Kennedy Monteiro was born on February 23, 1921, to the late Julia Elizabeth (Williams) Kennedy and William Kennedy; she died on February 9, 2020. She was the middle of three children with an older sister, Wilma (Kennedy) Munroe, and younger brother, Bruce Kennedy. Grayce spent her formative years living in both Roxbury and Everett, Massachusetts. She was a lifelong Episcopalian who as a child attended the Church of Saint Augustine and Saint Martin in Boston. Over the years, Grayce made numerous contributions in her faith journey to Christ Church and Saint David’s Church, in Harwich and Yarmouth, Massachusetts respectively.
Grayce’s keen intellect was always recognized, and she skipped a grade in elementary school. Grayce attended Roxbury Memorial High School for Girls and graduated in 1938. Later in life, she would attend Fisher Junior College at its Hyannis campus. She loved learning and the challenge the courses provided.
She loved games like Solitaire, Trouble, and Boggle and was a card whiz. She read the newspaper from cover to cover, including the legal notices. She was an ace at the JUMBLE and daily crossword puzzle. Always a high scorer, she could and would beat anyone at Scrabble who dared to challenge her regardless of their age. And, she was left-handed – a trait she proudly passed down to two of her three children and four of her seven grandchildren.
Grayce spent many summers on Cape Cod, where as a teenager she met her future husband, Joseph DaLuz Monteiro. During WWII, Grayce served her country as a volunteer with the USO while Joe served overseas on the Red Ball Express. As often happened during the war, Joe’s leave was not granted in time for their wedding. Grayce’s cousin informed the gathered attendees that the reception would still take place – and it was a grand event. They would later marry on November 20, 1942, and their 61-year union produced three children: Cynthia Joy, Julia Elizabeth, and Nora Christine.
A dedicated employee of the Town of Dennis, Grayce worked at the Ezra H. Baker Elementary School including serving as the cafeteria manager until her retirement in 1982. She later also served as both an election worker and the town’s registrar of voters to complete more than 45 years of service. Grayce would later work part-time at the local Christmas Tree Shop in West Dennis, where, by her own admission, she left most of her paycheck. Grayce, along with Joseph, was recognized in 2003 for her dedication and service to the Town of Dennis with the placement of a bronze plaque on the Aunt Debby’s Bridge in Dennisport.
Always a kid at heart, Grayce took her entire family to Disneyworld in 2005. Affectionately dubbed “Gigi’s Gathering,” more than 20 members traveled to Florida to celebrate Christmas and family. A lifelong Republican, Grayce proudly voted for the first time as a Democrat in the 2008 election that resulted in President Barack Obama’s presidency. She was so pleased to travel to Washington, D.C. with her entire family to attend his inauguration. Grayce was blessed to witness the swearing in ceremony from the Rayburn Building as a guest of then-Senators Edward Kennedy and John Kerry (D-MA).
One thing you would regularly hear Grayce say is “I started all of this! This is all because of me!” She was so very proud of her children, their spouses, and all her “grands.” Wherever you saw her family, you saw Grayce -- whether it was a church event, a majorette show, a choral performance, a high school play, an orchestra concert, football or hockey game, graduation ceremony or any number of other events that celebrated her family’s achievements. She would travel any and everywhere to support their success. Never one to be left behind, Grayce also enjoyed Black Friday shopping shenanigans until she was physically unable to participate.
Affectionately known as MAAaaaa, Gram, Gigi, Graycie, and Grayciepoo, she lived on Center Street in South Dennis until 2017, when she relocated to the Mill Hill Residences in West Yarmouth. One of its first residents, she would spend the remainder of her days at “The Mill Hill Club” where she maintained her lifelong habit of drinking hot tea with two teabags and toast each morning.
The last of her generation, Grayce was predeceased in death by her loving husband, Joseph; her parents, Julia and William; her siblings Wilma and Bruce; and, her son-in-law, Arthur Pina. Grayce is lovingly survived by her daughters, Cynthia Pina, Julia (Larry) Johnson, Nora Monteiro (Craig Hunt); and, her seven grandchildren, Christine Pina (Alex Smith), Nina Palmer (Jerry), Diane Johnson, Gretchen Pina-Breedy (Rudell), Claire Johnson Allen (Brandon), Lawrence Johnson, and Piper Hunt. She was blessed with seven great-grandchildren: Vanessa, Maxwell, Myles-Michael and Jacob Palmer; Cason and Noah Breedy; and Arthur William Smith; and two great-great-grandchildren, Levi and Penelope Palmer.Grayce also had a mother-daughter relationship with Catherine Donnelly. She is also survived by her sister-in-law, Maria Monteiro Goode, and cousins Claire Galloway and MaryAnn Bradley and a host of other family and friends.
Grayce and Joseph will be buried together at the Massachusetts National Cemetery at Joint Base Cape Cod in Bourne, Massachusetts.
A memorial service will be held on Sunday, February 16, 2020, at St. David’s Episcopal Church, 205 Old Main Street, South Yarmouth, MA. Familly calling hours will begin at 12pm with a full mass at 2pm.
In recognition of her legacy and a life well-lived, memorial donations may be made in Grayce’s honor to the Cape Cod Chapter of the NAACP Scholarship Fund, c/o John Reed, NAACP President, Zion Union Heritage Museum, 276 North Street, Hyannis, MA 02601.