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On July 31, 2012, Richard Gratton passed away at Barton Skilled Nursing facility in South Lake Tahoe, California in the company of family and his wife of 60 years, Janice Wood Gratton. Richard had lived in South Lake Tahoe with his daughter and her family since 2007. He was hospitalized in June 2012 and passed away from complications following hip surgery. Today, October 7, 2012, would have been his 84th birthday.
Richard was a resident of Covina from 1961 until 2007 and was a faithful member of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Covina for all those years. He worked as a private practice CPA in Covina for many years and then took a position as CEO for J.L.Wood Optical Systems in Santa Ana, California until he retired in 1991. He loved the beach, Palm Springs, vacations in Kauai, and especially his own backyard pool where he hosted many family barbecues and spent countless happy afternoons with his beloved wife and their Boston Terriers.
Every Christmas he set up a masterpiece of a train set complete with villages which took up half his living room. In his engineer cap, he delighted his kids, grandkids, neighbors and friends with the train's beauty and fun every year.
Richard was born in Rochester, New York, to Blake Gratton and Hazel Warren Gratton. He grew up in the village of East Rochester where his family owned and operated Gratton's Furniture Store. Richard was a star athlete in high school where he is still remembered for his abilities and for helping his team achieve statewide recognition. In high school he met the love of his life, Janice. After college they were married in 1951. He carried on his athletic success at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, with an athletic scholarship. While at Lehigh he was president of Delta Upsilon Fraternity. Richard graduated from Lehigh in 1951 with a Bachelors Degree in Accounting. After college he enlisted and served two years as a Captain in the United States Air Force. Upon returning home, he worked for the family business for a few years. During this time, he and his wife bought their first home on the Eerie Canal in Fairport, New York. In 1961 he moved with his wife and two young children to Covina, California.
Richard is survived by his wife Janice Wood Gratton, daughter Laurie Gratton Welton and her husband Larry Welton, son James Gratton and his wife Chryle Gratton, grandchild Jennie Welton Burciaga and her husband Tony Burciaga, grandchild Amy Welton Wilson and her husband Andrew Wilson, grandchild Christopher Gratton, grandchild Michelle Gratton Moore and her husband Philip Moore, grandchild Stashia Gratton Burgett and her husband Ty Burgett, four great-grandchildren (another one due in January 2013), sister Sue Gratton Pullano and her husband Joe Pullano, brother Paul Gratton and his wife Lynn Gratton, 8 nieces and nephews, and many grandnieces and grandnephews.
Memorial services to be held at a later date in the place that
Richard always held so dear to his heart, East Rochester, New York.
Published in San Gabriel Valley Tribune on Oct. 7, 2012