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Grace was born December 26, 1923 in Virginia, Minnesota, raised in Rockville Centre, New York, and graduated from Southside High School in 1941. She was predeceased by her parents, Cristina (Belpedio) and Tomaso Petrilli, her brothers and sisters-in-law, Nicholas and Sophie, Charles and Madeline and Leonard and Barbara, an infant daughter, Marguerite, her cherished daughter-in-law, Linda, and in 1997, her beloved husband of 48 years, Anthony. She is survived by her children, John of Scotia, Christine and her husband, Peter Buanno, of Fort Johnson and Thomas and his wife, Robin, of Oxford, eleven grandchildren, four great-grandchildren and many nieces, nephews and godchildren.
Following high school, Grace attended and graduated from Browne Business school in Lynbrook. She worked as a secretary for Lawson Associates in Rockville Centre and then as bookkeeper of her husband's dress factory, Verona Dress Company in New York City. Grace was then employed in various bookkeeping and office manager roles at Septum Printing in Oceanside, Millen Cards in Amityville and Bugler Sales in Oceanside. She was a lifelong member of St. Agnes Cathedral Parish in Rockville Centre and an active member and Past President of the Rockville Centre Mercy League, the auxiliary organization of the Mercy Medical Center. While her children were growing up she also volunteered with Girl Scouts of Nassau County and as a Cub Scout Pack 333 Den Mother.
Shortly after the death of her husband, Grace moved to Oxford, New York where for more than a decade she greatly enjoyed the love and camaraderie of many, many new friends. She was an active member of St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church, the St. Joseph's Society, the Joseph Jefferson Book Club and Church Women United. She volunteered each week at the Women's Health Center at Chenango Memorial Hospital, Common Cents Clothes Closet and particularly valued the one day each week she spent reading with children at Oxford Primary School, where she was fondly known as "Grandma DeBrita" to twelve years of kindergarten and first-grade students.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that memorial contributions may be made to Hospice and Palliative Care of Chenango County, 21 Hayes St., Norwich, NY 13815, St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church, P.O. Box 352, Oxford, NY 13830 or the charity of your choice.
A funeral mass will be held at St Joseph's Roman Catholic Church, State St., Oxford, NY 13830 on Tuesday September 11 at 11:00 a.m. with a luncheon following the service.
Interment will be at Calverton National Cemetery on Friday September 14 at 1:00 p.m. Friends, relatives and all who knew Grace are invited to join the family at McQuades Neighborhood Grill, 275 Merrick Rd., Lynbrook, NY 11563 from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m. on Friday.
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