Edith R. Griscom
ATHOL — Edith Rapallo Griscom, 88, went to her eternal home on Dec. 3, 2015, from the Athol Hospital, after an illness that had brought her from her home in Westford to the home of her daughter Julia. Edith died as she lived: with flourishes of humor, deep faith and unconventional anonymity.
Edith was born in New York, N.Y., on June 29, 1927, the oldest child of Ludlow Griscom and Edith (Sloan) Griscom, and grew up in Cambridge. She attended schools in Cambridge including Cambridge High and Latin and Buckingham, Brown and Nichols. Edith also undertook music studies at the Longy School; she enjoyed private piano study for many years as well.
Edith married Percy O. Daley Jr. in 1948 and they had seven children. They raised their family in Westford after settling in their home on Hildreth Street, where Edith lived for the ensuing 63 years. For many of the early years, Edith was active in the Westford PTA, Girl Scouts, Great Books Club and church groups. Edith loved the fields, the woods, the lakes and hills. Second to her love for Westford and the Monadnock region of New Hampshire, Edith’s love of the Massachusetts coast was expressed in her many trips to Plum Island. She retained a deep interest in Chatham as well, where she had spent much time as a child. She held membership in the Mass. Audubon Society, New Hampshire Audubon Society, Mass. Trustees of Reservations, Conservation Land Trust, and the World Wildlife Federation. Most recently, Edith was delighted to discover local interest in her father’s ornithological work as followed for many years by the Athol Bird and Nature Club.
Edith was a highly motivated and lifelong learner. She studied avidly, and especially loved natural history, American biography, and contemplative Christian theology. In 1975 Edith pursued her long-desired bachelor’s degree, and graduated in 1979 from Rivier University with a B.A. in sociology. She held positions with the Boys’ and Girls’ Club of Hudson, as well as with the children’s unit of the former Metropolitan State Hospital. Edith taught piano and organ for many years as well, and delighted in her work as a local church organist for over two decades.
The core of Edith’s strength and personal power, both of which were apparent to all who met her, was her deep faith. Always eclectic in her theology, Edith was a stickler for simple truth and authentic expression. Having joined the Roman Catholic Church as a young woman, Edith found her faith’s most authentic expression in the life of St. Francis of Assisi. She became a professed member of the Third Order of St. Francis in the 1960s and could often be found praying the Roman Breviary, even in her latter days during her illness. Her faith was profoundly embracing; she cherished a variety of religious traditions and she will be sorely missed by people of many different spiritual and religious expressions.
Edith Griscom is survived by her seven children: Christopher W. Daley of Westford, Edith S. Daley of Haverhill, Rev. Mary Bettencourt and her husband Blair of Westford, Rev. Julia Daley of Athol, Timothy Daley and his wife Alexandra of Chelmsford, Peter Daley and his wife Phakinee of Belfast, Maine, and Kevin Daley of West Paris, Maine. In addition, she leaves nine grandchildren: Amy and Jessica Bettencourt; Alexander, Benjamin and Kathleen Daley; Sarah and Joseph Daley; and Katrina Daley and Kalli Grover.
Edith is also survived by her sister Joan L. Griscom, her sister-in-law Shannon, her nephew and niece Pippin (Andrew) and Sarah, as well as cousins.
Edith was predeceased by her brother Andrew Griscom earlier this year, and by her former husband, Percy, in December of 2012.
The family wishes to thank the many loving caregivers whose active listening and gentle care contributed so greatly to Edith’s comfort. Special thanks are offered as well to Dr. Benjamin Prentiss, whom Edith revered.
A visitation time will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 8, at Blake Funeral Home, 24 Worthen St., Chelmsford. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Wednesday at 11 a.m. in St. Mary Church, 25 North Rd., Chelmsford. All family and friends are cordially invited. Internment will be private.
In lieu of flowers, charitable donations in Edith’s memory may be made to the Athol Hospital, Building Fund, 2033 Main St. Athol, MA 01331 to aid in the new emergency room initiative.
For directions or condolences, visit www.blakefuneralhome.com or find them on Facebook.