Grace Mackenzie Sinclair Littlejohn Anderson, 92, passed away peacefully on October 15, 2019 at High Pointe House hospice, Haverhill, MA after a long illness. Grace was a beautiful woman inside and out, a devoted wife, mother, friend and nurse who never had an enemy. She was born on December 3, 1926 into a large farm family in Wallacetown, Ontario, Canada, near the shores of Lake Erie. Her parents, Jean Sinclair and Donald Mackenzie Littlejohn, were both of Scottish heritage. She was the youngest girl in her family of six girls and two boys who all predeceased her. Grace went to grammar school in a one-room school house where every row was a different grade. She skipped two rows and went to high school early, graduating at age 16. She always regretted this because she loved to learn and graduating early meant she had to work on the farm for two years until she could go to nursing school. Getting up early to milk the cows, feed the pigs, tend to chores and serve a hot noon meal to the farm hands was hard work for a girl who would rather be reading or sleeping late. At eighteen Grace was finally old enough to attend nurses training at Wellesley Hospital in Toronto where she earned her diploma. Grace worked in various settings as a registered nurse over the course of her career and was kind and dedicated to all of her patients, with a work ethic to match. When she retired at the age of sixty-two, she could proudly say she had never missed a day of work. Being industrious was her nature, she was driven by doing the right thing and she always wore a watch. Even in the last days before her death she would feel her wrist to make sure her watch was still there.
Grace had quiet wisdom and was tall and stylish. She was a listener and had small quotes she learned from her father and kind words ready if someone was going through a rough time. She wrote thank you notes and sympathy cards with heartfelt words and each Christmas card had to say something personal. She loved gardening, flower arranging, needle point, quilting and setting a beautiful table on special occasions. She was ‘green’ long before it was popular. Nothing was wasted. You might be surprised to find your birthday gift wrapped in unconventional recycled materials, or you might find yourself sleeping on a beautiful pillowcase made from a gently worn cotton swing skirt. She knew how to stretch a dollar without ever being cheap. The farm girl inside her was never far away.
Grace met the love of her life in 1951 while taking a cruise on the Saguenay River in Quebec. On that same cruise was an American fellow from Lawrence, MA, Robert W. Anderson, who wooed her and won her heart. He was a laugh-out-loud, boisterous joke-teller who loved music and dancing and had grown up an only child. They complemented each other and after many long-distance letters and post cards and finally meeting each other’s families, they were wed on July 11, 1953 and Grace emigrated to the U.S. Bob and Grace eventually moved from Lawrence to Stratford, CT where their two daughters, Carol and Jean, were born. Grace loved raising a family, she imparted her common sense and work ethic to her girls, loving but not hovering. She guided them by quiet example, allowing them to grow and learn and follow their dreams without interference. She was active at United Congregational Church in Bridgeport where she and Bob were members for more than 50 years. Some of her work at the church included choir mother, youth group advisor, rummage sale organizer and member of “The Seasoners” kitchen staff. Bob and Grace enjoyed a wide circle of friends, loved dancing and travel and, most of all, spending time with their children and grandchildren. They were married for 53 years when Bob passed away in 2007.
In addition to her daughters who live in Methuen, Grace also leaves her two sons-in-law Russ Bodnar and Meindert Wormmeester, her four beloved grandchildren Ben, Cassie, Julia and Liza, and many nieces and nephews. The family wants to thank the High Pointe House and Merrimack Valley Hospice for their kindness and caring, and a very special thank you to the wonderful staff and owners of Grace Morgan House Assisted Living in Methuen where Grace lived for almost four years. Their kindness, compassion and care during Grace’s time living there will not be forgotten.
A private memorial service will be held at a future date. Arrangements by the Dewhirst & Boles Funeral Home, 80 Broadway, Methuen, MA, 01844.
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