Madeline Letitia (Selig) Grillo, 97, died peacefully at Addison Gilbert Hospital in Gloucester, Mass., on Friday, April 8, 2016, after a long, dignified battle with Parkinson’s Disease. She was surrounded by her loving family.
Madeline was born in Gloucester on March 7, 1919. She was the daughter of Capt. Morton L. Selig, a well-known Gloucester sea captain, who was born in Nova Scotia. He worked primarily on beam trawlers, but his first command was the Gloucester schooner, Elsie. He died in 1988 at 100 years of age. Madeline’s mother, Catherine (MacDonald) Selig, was also born in Nova Scotia but lived most of her life in Gloucester, where she died in 1996, at the age of 102.
Madeline was predeceased by her husband of 61 years, the Honorable Joseph J. Grillo, who was the first Italian-American mayor of Gloucester, serving in the 1950s. She is survived by her two daughters, Paula Catherine Grillo of Ipswich and Carla Lee Grillo of Gloucester and New York City. She is also survived by her 90-year-old sister, C. Louise (Selig) Oakes Corliss of Gloucester, and many nieces, nephews and dear friends. Her devoted caregivers of 10 and 5 years, respectively, were Mary Anne Heard and Marie A. Ryan, both of Gloucester.
After graduating from Gloucester High School, Class of 1936, Madeline attended Emerson College in Boston, where she received a bachelor’s degree in English in 1940. She taught English at Gloucester High School for many years, with time off to raise her family, until retiring in 1981.
Madeline and her husband (who also taught English at Gloucester High School) were both Anglophiles and spent most of their summers over a 30-year period traveling throughout the United Kingdom. Madeline documented their 28 trips to England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales in detailed logs, which provided her with tremendous pleasure particularly in her later years.
Madeline made an annual pilgrimage to Boston each spring, where she joined a small group of Emerson College friends that gathered every spring for a spirited “mini-reunion” at the Copley Plaza Hotel. The women continued this lovely tradition for over 60 years. At one of the last reunions in 2005, when the remaining members were all in their late 80s, the maître d’ at the Copley dining room sheepishly came over to their table to ask them to “please keep the noise level down” at the request of other guests! Madeline always kept the memories of those Emerson reunions close to her heart.
But in the end, Madeline was a true Gloucester girl and will be missed by all who knew her for her graciousness and kindness – she was always a lady.
A funeral Mass will be held on Saturday, April 16, 2016, at 9:30 a.m. at our Lady of Good Voyage Church in Gloucester. Visiting hours will be held on Friday, April 15, 2016 from 4 to 7 p.m., at James C. Greely Funeral Home, 212 Washington Street, Gloucester, MA. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Madeline’s memory to the American Parkinson Disease Association, . For online condolences, please visit .