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James S. Gratton, 83.

WORCESTER James Stone Gratton, 83, of 770 Salisbury Street, died July 23, 2008, at the Rose Monahan Hospice.

He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Carole A. (Stevens) Gratton; two sons, John Duncan Gratton of Wellesley, Mass., and Jeffrey Nielsen Gratton of New York City; two grandchildren, Christina Grace Gratton and John William Gratton, and his daughter-in-law, Patricia A. (Brown) Gratton, all of Wellesley; a sister, Vicary (Gratton) Clark of Falmouth, Mass.; and 13 nephews and nieces, their spouses and offspring, numbering 57 individuals. Two sisters, Muriel (Gratton) Small and Caroline (Gratton) Graham, predeceased him. His extended family was the chief joy of his life.

Born in Palisades Park, New Jersey, the son of Rev. John Gratton and Esther (Stone) Gratton, he spent his childhood in Pittsfield, Mass., where his father was pastor of the First Congregational Church. His parents emigrated from England in the early part of the 20th century, and their loving kindness and self denying care blessed him in his childhood and sustained him through all the days of his life.

He was a full scholarship boy and graduated from the Hotchkiss School, Lakeville, Connecticut, in 1943, and from Yale University in 1947. At Yale he was a member of the Fence Club, Aurelian Honor Society, the Elihu Club, and Commander of the Yale NROTC Unit. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1943 to 1946 and retired from the Naval Reserve as a Lieutenant (JG).

Mr. Gratton came to Worcester in 1947 as a general assignment reporter on the staff of the Worcester Evening Gazette, resigning in 1950 to serve briefly as the first Executive Director of The Citizens Plan "E" Association prior to entering Harvard Law School from which he earned an LL.B. degree in 1953. While at Harvard, he was the winner of the Scott Club Prize, the Roscoe Pound Prize, and the Sheldon Prize, and was selected 1953 Graduate School Commencement Orator. In that year he joined the firm of Thayer, Smith and Gaskill (now Bowditch & Dewey) where he practiced until his retirement, as a senior partner, in 1990.

Mr. Gratton was an enthusiastic supporter and advocate for women's reproductive rights and a member of the Advisory Committee of Planned Parenthood of Central Massachusetts. He was a long-term proud member of the American Civil Liberties Union, as well as a lifelong liberal Democrat.

He served on the City of Worcester Human Rights Commission; was a Trustee of Worcester Junior College and Central New England College; Director of United Way of Central Massachusetts and the Social Service Planning Council; Director of the YMCA of Central Massachusetts; member of Tatnuck Country Club and a former member of its Board of Governors.

He was privileged and honored in his mature years by the friendship of a remarkable group of men: Bill Clark, Fairman Cowan, Harry Dewey, Tom Green, Jack Griefen, Jack Lund, Ross Lyell, Bob Massey, Hal Moore, Joe Oakley, Tom Sedgwick, Will Small, Woodie Titcomb, Jim Wallace and Brownie Wheeler, many of whom enjoyed with him squash racquets, tennis and platform tennis and the joys of fresh air, sunshine and exercise. He was a member for over 50 years of the Worcester Tennis Club which he served as President and Treasurer, and the Greendale YMCA Tennis Club. For many years he spent part of each summer in West Falmouth, Mass.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions are encouraged to the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, 470 Pleasant Street, Worcester, MA 01609.

Funeral arrangements are by Caswell-King Co., 474 Grove Street. After cremation, burial will be in Rural Cemetery. A Celebration of his life is to be held at 3 p.m. on Monday, July 28, 2008 at the First Unitarian Church, 90 Main Street, Worcester. Reception at the Church will follow immediately afterwards.

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Title Annotation:DEATHS
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Jul 25, 2008
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