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Madeline M. Gratton

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NORTH BENNINGTON -- Madeline M. Gratton, a longtime resident of North Bennington, died unexpectedly on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2006, at the home of her daughter, while waging a hopeful and valiant battle against cancer.

She was born in North Bennington on Jan. 2, 1927, a daughter of Earl and Lilah Harwood Marsh. She was raised in the Shaftsbury area, growing up on farms her family owned and attending local schools. She never lost her love for life as a Vermonter. She was a graduate of North Bennington High School, and was named the salutatorian of the class of 1945. Shortly after her graduation, she married her Army sweetheart, PFC Henry “Hank” Gratton. After the war, they purchased their home on Polygraphic Lane, a wonderful neighborhood where they raised their children. They were married for 50 years, until Hank’s death in 1995.

Madeline was very involved in the PTA, the Girl Scouts, the Norshaft Little League and whatever things her children were doing. She was a woman of firm ideals and strong convictions, often shared with candor and enthusiasm within the community boards and organizations on which she served. She was a proud and creative stay-at-home-mom, but later enjoyed a career in banking. She set an academic standard for the family in her later years, earning an associate degree in banking and commerce before retiring as an executive from Merchant’s Bank in 1987. She then joined her husband as they enjoyed their retirement years fishing, swimming and kayaking at the family cabin, Ha-Ma-Ca, on Burr Pond, surrounded by their grandchildren.

She also enjoyed traveling, was always ready to go and explore, happy for new experiences and meeting new people. She was active in her church, assisting with the training for baptism. She remained active in the Sodality and Catholic Daughters through the years. Her faith was always very important to her, and one of her proudest moments was becoming Catholic in 1954.

Madeline was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, and her beloved sister, Lilah Jane Thomson. She also lost a special friend and companion, Bernard Whitman, in 2004.

Madeline is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Punky (Madeline) and Ben Rusiloski of Mountain Top, Pa.; and her son and daughter-in-law, Nancy and Jim Gratton, of Burnt Hills, N.Y. Her beloved grandchildren include Ben Rusiloski III and wife, Erin, of Doylestown, Pa.; Amy Rusiloski, of Drums, Pa.; Betsy Lawson and husband, Steve, of Drums; Katherine Rusiloski of Reeders, Pa.; Tyler Gratton, Latham, N.Y., and Jenna Gratton of Burnt Hills. She was a very proud great-grandmother to Lauren Rusiloski and Sam Henry Lawson. She is also survived by a brother, Robert Marsh, nieces, nephews and cousins, plus many special friends whose devotion spanned the miles from Vermont to Pennsylvania through cards and phone calls.

The funeral will be held from the Mahar & Son Funeral Home Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2006, at 9:15 a.m. with a prayer and from St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in North Bennington at 10 a.m., where the Mass of resurrection will be offered.

Friends may call at the funeral home Tuesday from 3 to 7 p.m. when the family will be in attendance. The wake service will be offered Tuesday afternoon.

Burial will take place in the family lot in St. John’s Cemetery, North Bennington.

Memorial donations may be made to the Sacred Heart School or the Shaftsbury Historical Society through the office of the Mahar & Son Funeral Home, 628 Main St., Bennington, VT 05201. Her love of flowers was second only to her devotion and commitment to special programs and their work.

All members of Court St. Andrew, Catholic Daughters of America are asked to meet at the Mahar & Son Funeral Home Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. for the recitation of the rosary in memory of Madeline Gratton.
Published in Bennington Banner on Feb. 20, 2006
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