Phyllis “Grammie” Marie Mattison

September 24, 2017
White Dove
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Canandaigua, NY – Phyllis ‘Grammie” Marie Mattison [formerly Grzeskowiak]
82 years old, died Sunday, September 24, 2017, at Geneva General Hospital in Geneva, NY.

Born October 18, 1934 in Geneva, NY to Emma Josie Merithew [d. 1983] and John Horatious Mattison [d.1960]. Phyllis grew up in an active farming family in Lodi, NY. A graduate of Waterloo High School [1952], and after partially-completing a training program through the Rochester School of Licensed Practical Nursing at Genesee Hospital in the 1960s, she went on to earn an AS degree in Psychology and Sociology [CCFL,1978] and a BS degree in Community and Human Services [Empire State College, 1982].

In April 1954, Phyllis married Wawrzyn [Walter] Grzeskowiak, a Polish national who immigrated to the USA after WWII. Together they had six children over 10 years before separating, and ultimately divorcing in 1974.

Phyllis’ career was one focused on the care of mentally-and physically-disabled individuals through her work at various Finger Lakes-area social service agencies. She taught braille and life skills to the visually-impaired while employed by The Association for the Blind, and provided elder care to patients residing at Canandaigua’s Grove Home. Phyllis is remembered by her long-time friends for her giving character as evidenced by the meals she provided and support she showed in times of need.
Beyond the love for her children and grandchildren, her passions were music, Native American culture and arts, sewing, and reading historic fiction. From a young age when she and her sister sang regularly on a local radio station, to her ability to play the piano and guitar by ear, to her time as the lead singer in a local country cover band called The Marauders [1970s], to the more recent assistance she gave in organizing Finger Lakes-area Blue Grass performances, music fed her heart. She took an active role in cooking meals on-site in support of the 1974 Mohawk stand-off at Moss Lake, NY at which indigenous peoples were attempting to reclaim their traditional lands. She designed and sewed many Native American “ribbon” shirts that were used in local reenactments. She attended services at Chapin United Methodist Church as often as she could.

She is survived by her children, Michelle Brown [Geneva]; Colleen Grzeskowiak [Ithaca]; Charles (Lisa) Grzeskowiak [Gorham]; Christopher (Sharon) Grzeskowiak [Stanley]; Mary (Alan) Ragins [Lakewood, CO]; and Damian (Tim) Grzeskowiak [Gorham];
her sister Janice Marquart [Clifton Springs];

six grandchildren, Tara Grzeskowiak, Brittany (Michael) Phillips, CJ Grzeskowiak, John (Beth) Grzeskowiak, Dustin (Caitlin) Grzeskowiak and Jamie Ragins.

one great-grandchild, Hunter James Grzeskowiak;

2 nieces, Diane Marquart and Nancy Watson;

2 nephews, Dana Marquart and Darryl Marquart.

Calling hours will be held at Perkins Funeral Home at 2583 Main Street in Gorham, NY on Thursday, 28 September 2017 from 1 to 2 p.m.. There will be a private burial afterwards at the Gorham Cemetery.

Donations may be made in Phyllis’ name to the Geneva Living Center North/Activities Fund, 75 Mason Street, Geneva NY 14456.

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