Valentina Antoinette (Toni) McGrail; There are those whose lives death cannot diminish.
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Toni, Mom, Grams, Gigi, Nanna, Auntie, sister, sister-in-law, dear friend, and most precious spirit passed from her earthly journey at home surrounded by her very large, close, and loving family on Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013. Her love will radiate forever in our hearts and her light will continue to shine on in the countless lives she touched for so many years.
Antoinette was born in Fall River, Mass., on Jan. 23, 1916, to Augusta (Mordenti) and Gerardo Pannoni. One of five children, her family moved to Waterbury in 1925, which is where she met and in 1945 married Peter Loguori McGrail, the man who was and always remained the love of her life. They lived in Newport, R.I., before settling in East Hartford in 1956, which is where they raised their eight children. The fabric of her life was composed of her husband and children, whom she loved profoundly and unconditionally. Over the years the McGrail "brood' grew to include several new daughters and sons-in-law, 13 grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren, and countless friends, all of whom were graced by her love. Each of her children and their spouses still reside in Connecticut: Stephen and Janice McGrail of East Hartford, Ellen and Stephen Faucher of Glastonbury, Peter McGrail of East Hartford, Karen and John Dolan of East Hartford (with whom she lived for more than 30 years), Carol and Howard Kinsman of South Windsor, Thomas and Arvilla McGrail of Manchester, Joseph McGrail of Canton, and her youngest and dearest daughter, Mary McGrail of East Hartford. She was predeceased by her husband Pete who passed in 1981, as well as by her parents; her three brothers, Ernest, Ethalo, Paul; and her sister, Ida. Besides all of her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, she leaves her beloved sister in-law, Marie Pannoni of Waterbury, and many nieces and nephews who she constantly kept in her heart and prayers. She also leaves her very true and closest friend of more than 50 years, Thelma Connors of East Hartford.
Anyone who was ever lucky enough to meet Toni immediately realized what a unique, caring, and beautiful human spirit she was. Her first thoughts were always of others and what she could do to brighten their life or lessen their burdens. She also possessed a special love of birds and animals, whether wild or tame. They brought her such joy. Her life was a demonstration of the essence of love. We were so blessed to have been part of her rare life and beauty. God Bless you Mom, we will miss your presence always.
Funeral services will be Monday, Jan. 14, at 9 a.m. from the D'Esopo-East Hartford Memorial Chapel, 30 Carter St., East Hartford, with a Mass of Christian Burial celebrated at 10 a.m. at St. Isaac Jogues Church, One Community Street, East Hartford. Burial will follow at St. Mary's Cemetery, Section R-2, Burnside Avenue, East Hartford.
Relatives and friends may call at the funeral home chapel on Sunday, Jan. 13, from 2 to 5 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Antoinette's memory may be made to St. Isaac Jogues Church, 15 Maplewood Ave., East Hartford, CT 06108; or to ASPCA Tributes, 520 8th Ave., New York, NY, 10018.
For any online expressions of sympathy to the family please visit
Published in Journal Inquirer from Jan. 10 to Jan. 14, 2013
D'Esopo East Hartford Memorial Chapel
30 Carter Street East Hartford, CT 06118-3606