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Grant Cioffi

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BARRINGTON — Grant Louis Cioffi, of Barrington, N.H., died on March 5, 2010, after suffering a heart attack at work. He was 58. The son of Louis F. Cioffi and Nan Russell, he was born in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Educated at Stanford University (A.B. in English, 1973) and the University of Minnesota (Ph.D. in Education, 1981), he was a professor in the Department of Education of the University of New Hampshire since 1980. He also served as a Senior Specialist in Written Language in the Learning Disabilities Program at Children's Hospital, Boston, where he worked since 1987.

He always said his job was to teach teachers how to teach reading, and he worked with both teachers and students to improve literacy throughout New England. With the late Professor John Carney, he founded the Seacoast Reads program, which has matched UNH student reading tutors with local elementary students for the past 13 years. For his work with Seacoast Reads, he received UNH's award for Excellence in Public Service in 2007.

He taught, published articles, directed dissertations, and gave presentations on reading instruction, literacy, and the diagnosis of learning disabilities.

Grant rebuilt wooden boats and sailed them in Great Bay. On dry land, he could fix just about anything, from his beloved 1969 Alfa Romeo Spider to the roof of the barn. These skills were self-taught. He believed that one could do anything with the right tools, the right information, and a little patience.

A resident of Barrington since 1980, he lived at "Animal Farm," where they say, "Four legs good, two legs bad."

He is survived by his wife of 32 years, Ann Whitehill; twin brother, Frank; sons, Robert and William; dogs, Abby and Whiskey; and horse, Ellie.

A memorial service will be held on Friday, April 2, at 4 p.m. in the Huddleston Ball Room at the University of New Hampshire.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to UNH "in memory of Grant Cioffi" for scholarships for students focused on service learning in the Reading Program in the Department of Education at UNH.

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Published in Fosters from Mar. 11 to Mar. 12, 2010