2012-05-23 / Community

Cold Spring Bids Goodbye to Community Member Lucille Grow

By Annie Chesnut


The steeple of St Mary’s Church in Cold Spring, from which Lucille Grow was laid to rest on Saturday. 
Annie Chesnut The steeple of St Mary’s Church in Cold Spring, from which Lucille Grow was laid to rest on Saturday. Annie Chesnut In spite of some glorious spring weather, Saturday was a sad day for many in Cold Spring, who said good-bye to two beloved community members.

Father John Mills was laid to rest after a funeral mass at Our Lady of Loretto, and Lucille Grow, who died in January, was memorialized at a funeral mass at St. Mary’s, after which her ashes were interred at Cold Spring Cemetery.

Saturday morning there were several generations present, all of whom had clearly been touched by Lucille during what was by all evidence a remarkable life dedicated to social change, children, and her extended family. The old stone church was dotted with familiar faces, as well as a large contingent of family members and friends from near and far.

Lucille’s cousin and godchild, Anne Bodi, began the memorial service by noting that Lucille’s ashes were lovingly stored in a curly maple box, hand-made by a member of the family, with a special inscription on the top. After the processional, “Come, Thou Font of Ev’ry Blessing,” Father Shane Scott-Hamblen gently swung the censer in the direction of the box, and the sweet smell of incense drifted down the length of the church. The congregation later gathered for lunch and more memories.

As her cousin Lynn Bodi noted with pride, Lucille came of age during a time when opportunities for women were far fewer than they are now. Born in Cleveland in 1921, she received a solid Catholic education, including a B.A. from the College of New Rochelle. Part of that education, her family recalled, involved the Ursuline Sisters trying to convert her from left-handed to right-handed-ness, with limited success.

She earned a master’s degree while working back in Cleveland, and in 1957 earned a coveted Fulbright Grant to do research at Liverpool University, in the U.K., which led eventually to a PhD. Research in the areas of families, particularly troubled ones, was followed by a new career teaching social work courses, first at Hunter College, and then at Yeshiva University as a full-time graduate school professor. She wrote or cowrote at least eight books on childrearing, adoption, unwed mothers, and foster care.

Locally, Lucille founded the Great Decisions Discussion Group, was a founder/board member of the Mother Lurana Social Day Care Center in Garrison, and contributed in various ways to The Butterfield Library, the Desmond-Fish Library, Amnesty International, Women in Black, The Hastings Center, Manitoga, and the Putnam County Historical Society. And she found her spiritual home at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church.

Anne Impellizzeri of Cold Spring said of Lucille, “She was wonderful in reaching out and engaging me and many others in the Great Decisions Series at Desmond-Fish, which continues to this day. I saw that side of her and then I saw the volunteer side. She moved from leadership and policy to the most ordinary of contributions.”

Impellizzeri also noted the closeness of Grow’s memorial to the service for Father John Mills, longtime Rector of St. Mary’s, whose funeral mass was held at Our Lady of Loretto Church. “The coincidence in timing astounds one,” Impellizzeri said.

The sense of fondness for Lucille that each relative and friend exhibited cannot be overstated: this was a woman who left her mark on others and will be dearly missed, and always remembered.

I didn’t know Lucille myself, but lots of ‘Springers clearly did. While working on the obituary that we eventually ran in the paper, I got to know several of Lucille’s Wisconsin cousins, and learned that one of them, Lynn Bodi, had worked with my sister, who lives in Madison. It’s a distant connection, to be sure, but somehow this little bit of commonality made me feel more at home among Lucille’s mourners.

Rest well, Lucille.

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