Rosemarie "Chickie" (Gallagher) Graves, 84, of Burnham Road died at her home on Monday, March 9, 2020, surrounded by her family at her bedside.
Chickie was born in Greenfield on March 13, 1935, the daughter of Thomas and Mary (Conway) Gallagher. She attended Holy Trinity School where she met many of her lifelong friends. She graduated from Greenfield High School and attended Cushing College until she left to marry the love of her life Robert "Rabbit" Graves. They spent 51 years together in the same home raising their family and opening their home and hearts to all those whoever needed a place to feel welcome, an ear to listen or a shoulder to cry on. It was a home filled with love and all those who entered it felt it.
Her husband Rabbit predeceased her on August 20, 2006. Theirs was a marriage to be envied and they greeted each other every morning with a hug that lasted forever. They demonstrated love and commitment in their actions and deeds daily and those around them learned from them in quiet ways.
Chickie held several part time jobs throughout her life that gave her pride and purpose, but her heart was always in raising her family and tending to her home. She took every chance to be a volunteer; hockey mom; class chaperone and sport spectator for her children and grandchildren. Her life was dedicated to her family above all else.
She was diagnosed with Alzheimer's almost ten years ago and although it was a long and at times difficult journey, she never once lost her personality or her compassion. She smiled each day until the last. While names, memories and even language faded over time, she would still greet her family and even strangers with kindness and welcoming joy. She would take every visit with her grandchildren to almost until the end to ask the same question "what's something wonderful in your life sweetie?" and listen intently at their answers.
Chickie leaves four sons: Timothy and his wife Tracy of Hanson, Ma and their children, Sean, Ryan and Conor; John and his wife Kathy of Bernardston, Ma and their children Kelly (Morin) and Casey; Robert and his wife Danielle of Deerfield, Ma and their children Molly, Megan and Shane; and Daniel and his wife Kim of Deerfield, Ma and their children Noah and Thomas. Chickie also leaves her two great grandchildren, Brayden and Taylor Morin.
Chickie will be missed by her best friend, Mary Lou Moore. Their friendship was lifelong and as deep as any friendship could be. They shared a lifetime of laughs, memories and support of one another. Chickie was holding Mary Lou's hand as she passed.
Chickie was predeceased by her sister, Rita Dunklee in December of 2012. She will be missed by her niece, Diane Schmitz, whom she loved dearly. Diane always made the time to keep and touch and visit.
Chickie's final years were graced with the incredible compassion and comfort of many health care workers and especially, Camille, who found ways to show her love and dignity each day. Those who knew her and cared for her, gained more from their interactions with her than they ever gave.
Chickie's yearbook quote was "She smiled and the shadows departed." Those words summed up her very being. Whether someone met her for a moment or a spent a lifetime with her, she left everyone she met feeling welcome, loved, respected and worthy. Her smile pulled you in. She was one to always listen more than speak and feel more than judge. Her ability to absorb so much weight from so many and return comfort, compassion and love in her every action will be her legacy and life lesson to those whose lives she touched.
A calling hour will be held Saturday morning from 8:30-9:30am at the Kostanski Funeral Home, 220 Federal Street, Greenfield. A liturgy of Christian Burial will be held Saturday 3/14 at 10am at Holy Trinity Church, 133 Main Street, Greenfield. Burial will follow at Calvary Cemetery in Greenfield. The family will gather after the services at Chickie's home and all are welcome for an Irish send off.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Alzheimer's Association, 264 Cottage Street, Springfield, MA 01104 and Pioneer Valley Hospice & Palliative Care, 329 Conway Street, Greenfield, MA 01301.
For condolences, please visit www.kostanskifuneralhome.com
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