John R. Grace

MADISON, Wis. — John Robert Grace, 69, died at home on Dec. 19, 2015, held by his wife, son and daughter and surrounded by the love of his family and friends, both near and far. 

Born in Utica, N.Y., to Robert Howard and Dorothy Whalen Grace and raised in Athol, John graduated from Athol High School, was a proud Eagle Scout, and fully engaged in the life of his small-town community. He graduated from Wesleyan University and the Hartford Seminary Foundation with degrees in religious studies, focusing on India. During five years in India as a student, Fulbright tutor, and College Year in India program administrator, he met and married his beloved wife, Joan Raducha.

Together they settled in Madison, Wis., and during 42 years of marriage, John chose a career in social action, supporting the innovative work of private family support and mental health agencies committed to the well being of Wisconsin’s neediest families and children. His passion was improving service where there was none or where better results could be achieved. He and Joan were blessed with two children and five grandchildren. 

In their retirement years, John and Joan were fortunate to be able to travel to national parks (including Glacier where John’s father spent some of his childhood years as the son of the station master), various countries in Europe, and to visit with friends and family in the U.S. John’s delight in learning during these trips was as fresh as his first trip to India. While in Madison, John volunteered on committees and/or the boards of several organizations dedicated to helping children and families live better lives.

Survivors include his wife, Joan Raducha; children Timothy (Kathleen Golhke) and Laura (Michael Thompson); grandchildren Elsa, Clara, and Beatrix Grace, and Gwendolyn and Nathaniel Thompson; brothers Stephen (Pamela), Donald (Catherine), and Kenneth (Peggy); sisters-in-law Monica (Thomas) and Theresa (Donald); several nieces and nephews; and Joan’s aunt, Ilse. 

Burial was at the Natural Path Sanctuary within the Farley Center in Verona, Wis., and a memorial service will be held on Jan. 30, at 11 a.m., at Friends House (Madison Monthly Meeting), 1704 Roberts Ct., Madison WI 53711.

Donations in his honor can be made to the American Friends Service Committee (the social action organization of the Quakers — AFSC), 1501 Cherry St., Philadelphia, PA 19102; or Friends of the Lakeshore Nature Preserve (stewards of precious urban land), P.O. Box 5534, Madison, WI 53705.

Athol Daily News

PO Box 1000
225 Exchange Street
Athol, MA 01331
Phone: (978) 249-3535


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