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Gertrude Grzebien

October 23, 1926 February 19, 2014
Gertrude Grzebien
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Obituary for Gertrude Grzebien

Gertrude P. Grzebien commended  her spirit to her heavenly father on the afternoon of Wednesday February 19, shortly after the hour of Divine Mercy.  Her faithful  caregiver Catherine Zito, her beloved niece Mary Kate Grzebien Carpenter, and her most beloved son Thomas W. Grzebien III  kept prayerful watch at her bedside.  Her  courageous weekend companion Nancy Parrillo had kept vigil over her during her  last night Two nights before her passing, Fr. Augustine Reisenauer OP prayed over her and sang the Dominican Salve to her in the presence of her son and his soul friend Jacqueline Murphy.
     Born in Providence on October 23, 1926,Gertrude was the daughter of James  D.  and Nora Agnes ( Buckley)O”Connor, both  of County Kerry, Ireland.  Raised on Medway Street on the East Side, Gert enjoyed a happy childhood with her brother Jim and her sisters Mary and Helen.   Nurtured in a secure and loving home, Gert and her siblings enjoyed ice staking on York's pond in winters and summers playing tennis  on the Paterson street clay  tennis courts. She was educated at St. Sebastian’s School and St. Mary’s Academy of the Visitation by the CND nuns.  She was one of the first classes to graduate from the new Hope High School.
        Gertrude worked briefly at the A.C. Beals construction company and in the credit bureau of the Narragansett  Electric Company.  She married Thomas W. Grzebien Jr in 1954, and settled in Edgewood.   Her  only child Thomas W. Grzebien, III was born in 1957.  Gert enjoyed a rich family life, dividing her  time between her Bonnet Shores and Edgewood homes.  Her mother Nora and her sister Helen became part her household and lived with her  in both residences until  their deaths in 1979 and 2004. 
         Gertrude loved sports and the companionship of her  husband  with whom she frequently attended Holy Cross football games until his death in 1990. She was an avid tennis player and played both tennis and golf with her sister and son until  her early eighties  She enjoyed following her son’s  career as a place kicker and punter at Moses Brown School and Dartmouth College . Later, she took special pleasure in visits to the University of Notre Dame while her son was completing his doctoral studies in History. She  and her husband were avid Providence College basketball fans during the Mullaney glory years. She was delighted when her son joined the History Department at Providence College in 1990.
        Gert was active in parish and social activities, including bridge,   was a past president of the St. Paul’s Catholic Women’s Club and the Edgewood Junior Women’s Association and the since disbanded Bonnet Shores’ Women’s Club.  She bowled with her husband at the old Bonnet Shore s Beach Club, and with the St. Paul’s  women’s duckpin bowling group.
     Gert loved  all  her  nieces and nephews, and was especially close to  the Sullivan and Grzebien families. In Edgewood, she reveled in the love and constant close companionship of her sister Mary and brother in law Joe’s  children, Deborah, Kathleen, Joseph, Gregory and Nora Ellen Sullivan. In Edgewood and later in Narragansett she received  like love from her brother in law Albert and Sister in law Ann’s children, Mary Kate, Thomas Vincent, William, and John Grzebien. In her later years, she enjoyed the South County beaches with her friend and helper Marilyn Wlassich and her mother, Dr. Sophie Wlassich.
     A woman of strength, humor,  and resolute gentle common sense, Gertrude Patricia’s defining charism was her simple but unwavering faith in the Sacred Heart of Jesus  and in His  Blessed Mother in the tradition of her forbears.  She visited  her cousins in Killarney twice. During her last visit to  Ireland  she made a pilgrimage of Knock Shrine.  During the past four years of illness spent at home with her son and caregivers , she delighted in hearing  Mass at St. Paul  Church, St. Thomas More Church, and in healing masses at LaSallete Shrine and St. James Chapel in Charlestown. She shared her Irish faith with brother in law George’s Dublin born widow Nancy Grzebien.  As her strength ebbed, .Gertrude  followed and prayed the  most Holy Rosary with fervor and raised her weakening voice whenever the hymns of her childhood were sung .  Her son, nieces and nephews request prayers for all who struggle to protect and care for their aging and ailing loved ones.
The funeral will be held Tuesday at 8:45 from the Monahan Drabble Sherman Funeral Home 230 Waterman St., Providence with a Mass of Christian Burial at 10 in St. Paul Church, One St. Paul Place Cranston. Burial will be in st Francis Cemetery. Calling hours Sunday 3 to 5pm and Monday 5 to 7pm.      
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to either St. Paul  Church or to the Little Sisters of the Poor in Pawtucket
 

The funeral will be held Tuesday at 8:45 from the Monahan Drabble Sherman Funeral Home 230 Waterman St., Providence with a Mass of Christian Burial at 10 in St. Paul Church, One St. Paul Place Cranston. Burial will be in st Francis Cemetery. Calling hours Sunday 3 to 5pm and Monday 5 to 7pm.      
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to either St. Paul  Church or to the Little Sisters of the Poor in Pawtucket

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