Folsom Funeral Service

Grant, Marion

Grant, Maion

Marion Jeannette Beaton Grant, formerly of Boston, MA, Arlington, MA, and East Hartford, CT, died peacefully in Watertown, NY, on April 18, 2015, at the age of 89.   Marion is survived by her siblings, Albert Eugene Beaton Jr., Nancy Pauline Duggan, and Adrienne Elizabeth Beaton; by her children, Nancy Elizabeth Grant, Dr. Dorothy H. G. Cotton and her husband Murray, Janet Marion Grant, Colin Edmund Grant  and his wife Susan, David Alexander Grant, and Andrew William Grant  and his husband Robert Wolff; and by seven grandchildren. Marion was preceded in death by her husband of 53 years, Howard Paul Grant; her brothers, Hugh Roderick Beaton and William Patrick Beaton; and her children Carolyn Barbara Montgomery and Peter Scott Grant.  Marion was born on December 24, 1925, in Boston, MA, to Albert Eugene and Annie Elizabeth  (MacEachen) Beaton. Raised the oldest of six children during the Great Depression, she got a fair amount of experience as Assistant Mother, and learned habits of frugality that she never forgot. She graduated from the highly competitive Boston Girls Latin High School in 1943 and, not sure what she wanted to do with her life, started work the Monday after graduation at the Boston Navy Yard (originally the Charlestown Navy Yard and later the Boston Naval Shipyard).  It was the job of a lifetime for Marion. Her job was called Special Messenger, and her function was to track down parts. When a ship in the shipyard had trouble finding a repair part from the normal sources, Marion would go to work. This usually meant walking around from warehouse to warehouse and office to office looking for rare or unusual parts, or tracking them down via telephone. Once the part was found, she’d carry it to the office and have it sent to the ship, or, if it were too big for her to carry, she’d arrange to have it delivered.  Marion absolutely loved this job, which was part clerk (“Yes, I can get that”), part detective (“I last saw one of those in warehouse D, but I heard it was moved”), part engineer (“Can you use one of THESE instead of one of THOSE?”), part negotiator (“I can give you THIS if you can give me THAT”), and always involved a lot of movement, conversation, and action. Since most of the ships in the yard were destroyers, she became quite an expert on destroyers, and was until the day she died.  The job ended when the war ended, and like many women, Marion was faced with a return to a world with far fewer opportunities for women. Marion later observed ruefully, “A girl could be a teacher, a nurse, a librarian, a sales clerk or a telephone operator.” So she enrolled at the Teachers College of the City of Boston, which later became Boston State Teachers College, then Boston State College, and eventually part of the University of Massachusetts Boston.  In 1946, while in school, Marion met Paul (Howard Paul Grant), a student at MIT, at an Acquaintance Dance (a college mixer), and started dating him. They had much in common, especially a love of sailing and music, and continued to see one another as Paul graduated MIT in 1947 and Marion graduated the Teachers College in 1948. They were married on December 26, 1948, and late the following year, Marion gave birth to their first daughter. Three more daughters and four sons followed.  So Marion and Paul went about the business of raising their family, settling in Arlington, MA. Although the large family presented huge challenges to Marion — not the least of which being that Paul had co-founded a small company and was at work most of the time, especially when the kids were young — she managed to stay relatively sane, and active with the children and in the community. As the family grew, and as they struggled to balance financial and household requirements, she taught school for several years, and was a substitute teacher for several others.  Raising eight kids is no trivial task unless one has the funds for several nannies, and this was hardly the case for Marion. Remarkably, she managed to not only raise the kids, but to have unique and special relationships with each. In later years, several of the by then adult children confided to one another that each was Mom’s favorite, and was shocked to discover that others thought the same. Such was her touch.  Furthermore, Marion was a remarkable advocate for her children when needed. If a child was excluded from an advanced class for which Marion thought they were qualified, she would march down to the school and require action. If a child found him/herself in undeserved trouble, Marion was quick to get to the bottom of the matter and set things right.  All the while, she was active in civic organizations, at various times president of the local PTA, president of the League of Women Voters, and later, president of the East Hartford (CT) Historical Society.  By 1973, Paul’s start-up had merged and matured into just another job, and in 1974 he took a job at Pratt Whitney Aircraft in East Hartford, CT, running an instrumentation lab. The family moved to East Hartford, and before long, with half the kids having moved on to college and beyond, and with financial problems a thing of the past, Marion was enjoying perhaps the happiest days of her life. The family had a sailboat down on Long Island Sound, and the wherewithal to make various trips as they pleased. Paul retired in 1989, and Marion and Paul enjoyed long journeys to Australia, Europe (repeatedly), and around the US.  In 1998, Marion and Paul moved to Mount Dora, FL, to be closer to two of their daughters. Marion remained in Florida after Paul died in 2002, but began to suffer from symptoms of dementia. In 2009 she moved to Raleigh, NC, to be near son David, and lived in assisted living for a few years. Eventually, she moved to the Samaritan Summit nursing home in Watertown, NY, near daughter Dorothy, as she needed nursing home care.  Through all this, she always considered Boston to be her home. Towards the end, unsure of her actual location, she often talked about taking a walk to the Village, near her childhood home in Boston, or hopping the trolley to Downtown (Boston).  Happily, despite the dementia, Marion never ceased to be Marion. Although her brain suffered the insult of the illness, it appears that the parts of the brain most effected were those having to do with sadness and anger, and she all but lost the ability to feel either. She never forgot who she was, and never forgot her parents, siblings, and children. She was always happy, upbeat, and pleasant. Her caregivers in Raleigh and Watertown constantly commented about how much they liked her, and how pleasant and kind she was. This was true, literally, to her dying day.  Friends are invited to join the family at Folsom’s Funeral Home, 63 Belgrade Ave, Roslindale, MA, from 8:30 – 9:30 AM on Friday, May 15, to be followed by a Mass at Sacred Heart Church in Roslindale, MA, at 10:00 AM, to be followed by burial at Mt. Benedict Cemetery, 409 Corey St., West Roxbury, MA.


Guestbook Entries

  1. Janice Wright
    April 30th, 2015 | 1:00 pm

    Dear Janet — I remember you fondly from Arlington High School and from our hanging out at your house listening to Simon & Garfunkel albums and eating your mom’s great “garbage” cookies (a term she strenuously denied!). I was sorry to read of her passing recently, and I wanted to be in touch to extend my sympathy and to tell you how often I’ve thought of our brief friendship over the years. You and your family are in my thoughts now.

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