October 25 2016
Obituary: Beloved Burlington Resident and Family Man Martin Grace, 57
A well-known and beloved Burlington resident passed away at the young age of 57 last week.
Martin Grace, a member of the Burlington High School Class of 1978 who was involved in many organizations around town including the Knights of Columbus and the Burlington Democratic Committee, passed away unexpectedly on October 21. His funeral will be held on Wednesday morning.
Martin V. Grace, a College Administrator, passed away suddenly on Friday afternoon, October 21, 2016. He was 57 years old.
Martin was born into a military family and at Ft. Devens Military Base. His family settled in Burlington in 1966 and were one of the few African American families in what was a predominantly white working class community. Martin and his siblings were warmly welcomed and easily made lasting friendships. Martin, like all his siblings, inherited the ability to speak easily and confidently in a way that made others want to listen and believe. All the Grace brothers were well respected by their classmates in school, friends, and residents in Burlington. One became a lawyer, another, served as a State Representative, and Martin followed in their footsteps in his involvement in the Knights of Columbus. He was a member of the K of C’s youth program, called the Squires. When he was old enough, he followed his father’s footsteps and served the K OF C in numerous roles including most importantly, Grand Knight for two terms and a 4th Degree Knight.
He participated in socials and charity events including the Tootsie Roll Drive and the Exceptional Children’s Golf Tournament each year. Martin was a member of one of Burlington’s biggest graduating classes, the Class of 1978. Martin excelled in Track and Field and held the Burlington High School record for the 400 hurdles for a number of years. He also played freshman football, was on student council, a class officer and he was in the Senior Play. There wasn’t one class member who didn’t know Martin by the time they graduated. Martin went on to receive his bachelor’s degree from U Mass Lowell where he was a Class Officer his Senior Year. He was a former Town Meeting Member in Burlington and a longtime member of the Burlington Democratic Committee.
His gregarious and welcoming charisma carried on all throughout his adult years as well. He had numerous circles of friends such as his Cape Cod group, work friends, soccer, softball, Knights of Columbus, Sons of Italy, Elks, friend’s families, and so on and so on. He had a bit of knowledge on almost anything from sports, philosophy, politics, ….. and would use that as a way to spark a conversation which often bloomed into a friendship. He had a kind heart and a strong will to contribute that sometimes got him into trouble as he occasionally over extended himself. He had a great group of close friends who loved Martin just because he was “Martin” and he was one of the guys. How many people can say that their inner circle of friends in high school, consistently stayed together as a group 40 years later. Martin had a strong bond with his family. He was a devoted and supportive son to his parents, Irene and Manuel. He was proud to be part of the Grace boys legacy, and a proud uncle to his nephew and nieces.
Martin worked in college administration much of the past 35 years. He has worked as an admissions counselor, registrar, and other administrative roles in a number of colleges including; Roxbury Community College, Riviera College, Merrimack College, Cape Cod Community College, and University of Lowell. He also worked at St. John's Seminary
Martin was the son of the son of the late Irene Anna (Lopes) and Manuel F. Grace. Loving brother of Darlene “Dolly” Mendes of New Bedford , Augusto “Augie” & his wife Janice of Burlington, Manuel “Manny” & his wife Karen “Casey” Caffee-Grace of Pasadena, CA, Anthony & his wife Paula Hoyt of Westford, and John of Los Angeles, CA. Uncle of Gene Mendes of Boston, the late Keone Mendes of Boston, Carson Grace of Westford and Nicholas, Alexander & Zoe Grace all of CA. Great uncle of Catrina Mendes and Gene Mendes Jr. both of New Bedford. Brother-in-law of Jancie Grace of Chelmsford. Also survived by many cousins and friends
Funeral from the Edward V. Sullivan Funeral Home, 43 Winn St., BURLINGTON (Exit 34 off Rt. 128, Woburn side) on Wednesday, October 26 at 9 a.m. Followed by a Mass of Christian Burial in St. Margaret’s Church, 111 Winn St., Burlington at 10 a.m. Visiting hours Tuesday from 4-8 p.m. Relatives and friends are respectfully invited. Burial will be private. In lieu of flowers, memorials in Martin’s name may be made to the Knights of Columbus Exceptional Children’s Fund, P.O. Box 25, Burlington, MA 01803.