Elizabeth M. Grady (“Beth”) June 1, 1937 - August 12, 2020
Beth was the perfect nurse. She cared with knowledge, love, and intensity for literally thousands of people. Her nursing extended far beyond the hospital to her roles as professional leader, teacher and mentor, as well as dedicated wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend. Beth was always either providing physical care or wise nursing counsel to loved ones facing an illness or medical challenge. This caring was sometimes a quick consult, but more often involved essential support over days, months, or years.
Nothing was more important to Beth than her loving family, be that deep and satisfying relationships with her small nuclear family of 3, joyous holiday gatherings and reunions with her sprawling extended family, or the recent arrival of her only grandchild. Beth is survived by her husband and best friend Duncan, her only child Elissa, son-in-law Quentin, and beloved newborn granddaughter Afiya Elizabeth. Beth was predeceased by her mother Elizabeth, father Thomas, and two brothers Tom and Jim. Her other family members include sister Noreen, “sister” Rosanne, and siblings-in-law Jerry, Ric, Nancy, Tim, and Laurel. She was a loving aunt to Christine, Billy, Tommy, Amy, Sheila, Paul, Patty, Tim, Julie, Chris, Matt, Brianne, Andy, Greg, Philip, Mark, and Shalita and great aunt to Meghan, Colleen, Kevin, Keegan, Grace, Emma, James, Thomas, Maggie, Molly, Regan, Kathryn, Mary and Lindsay. Every family member and a multitude of friends received birthday and anniversary cards from Beth each year without fail.
Beth’s professional life started at Boston College and her ties always remained strong. She claimed “triple Eagle” status at BC having obtained her bachelor’s and master's degrees at the school of nursing and then returned as professor for a decade. Beth founded the International Honor Society of Nursing at Boston College. She remained actively involved with the school and her classmates, including organizing many special events such as their 50th reunion. After graduating from BC, Beth was commissioned as a Navy nurse, spent two years at Camp Pendleton, and remained in the Reserves until retirement. Beth earned a PhD in organizational behavior at Case Western Reserve University to increase the depth of her knowledge and skills in nursing leadership. That leadership was nowhere more evident than during her decade helping to create and then serving as Director of the MGH Institute of Health Professions graduate program in nursing. She really loved this work and was deeply respected and appreciated as a mentor and innovator by her colleagues and students. Beth also consulted with many healthcare organizations, including most of the major hospitals in Boston, sharing her deep knowledge and expertise. Throughout her career, she was a visionary and architect for many professional nursing organizations.
Beth's Roman Catholic faith was at the core of who she was. This gift was given to her by her family, nurtured during her early schooling, and made adult by her deep engagement with the Jesuit community at Boston College. She expressed her deep disappointment and impatience with the church through participation in organizations that envisioned a more just and inclusive church. And yet, her faith never wavered and the God of Love inspired all that she did with her life.
Beth was healthy and vibrant throughout her 83 years. She took a long walk with Duncan every morning before breakfast for more than two decades, including down at the ocean she so loved on Sundays. She was an ardent fan of local sports as well as a lover of the arts and music. She constantly engaged with the world around her as an avid reader and conversationalist, listening to hours of WBUR daily, and through local and international travel. Just this spring, Beth was diagnosed with advanced cancer and underwent treatment, including demanding chemotherapy and ultimately an extensive surgery from which her body simply could not recover.
Contributions can be made in Beth’s honor to Breakthrough Greater Boston (www.breakthroughgreaterboston.org/donate), an education nonprofit led by her daughter Elissa or the Boston College Connell School of Nursing Dean’s Discretionary Fund (www.bc.edu/give).
A private funeral mass and interment will be live streamed Friday, August 21st at 10am. Additional memorial activities will occur in the coming year.
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