At Loretta Grant’s 70th birthday party, a dear friend paid tribute by saying, “When you are with Loretta, she is present in the moment, entirely for you- focused, listening intently, considering your feelings and sharing your emotions.” In that fashion Loretta Grant’s gift to the world was herself. She was a devoted wife, mother and grandmother whose realized purpose in life was to love, nurture and care for others.
Loretta Grant died peacefully in her sleep at home in Branford at the age of 77. She was born Loretta Josephine Parducci in New Haven. She was raised in Hamden and eventually settled in Cheshire with her husband of nearly 50 years, David Lee Grant and their two daughters Erika and Megan.
Loretta was a graduate of Quinnipiac University. Over her career she worked for the Blood bank at Yale-New Haven Hospital, the American Red Cross and finally at UConn Medical Center, performing dental hygiene research. In retirement she and her husband David enjoyed leisure time at the Owenego Beach Club and traveled extensively to Europe, Asia, South America and across the United States.
Loretta’s life was marked by her service for others. As a member of the Branford Garden Club, she brought cheer and beauty to the Branford Community Dining Room- colorful floral arrangements for the tables. Her sister Dona recounts a moment of sisterly love- in high school while preparing for a social event, she mistakenly cut off her eyelashes while trying to curl them. It was big sister Loretta who consoled her and reassured her that all would be fine. Sister, Linda remembers fondly the grand Holiday gatherings for which Loretta was famous.
Family was everything to Loretta. The table was the central gathering place. Meals were events. Loretta honed her cooking skills over roughly 40 years with a close group of friends- the Gourmet Club. They would gather several times a year, exploring the varied cuisines of the world and enjoying the delightful company. Loretta was meticulous, with a keen eye for detail. Her table was always festooned, tastefully decorated and neatly arranged- not one utensil out of place. Fine china was the canvass upon which she created masterpieces of culinary delights. Rich, succulent dishes were a staple, typically seasoned with savory herbs from her own garden, and her secret ingredient, love.
Many of her specialty dishes were influenced by Loretta’s Italian heritage. Meatballs and eggplant were family favorites. She was blessed to descend from two large Italian families, the Parducci’s and Belli’s of Torrington, both of whom host annual reunions that attract scores of relatives. Loretta always made time to connect with her cousins and help them in times of need.
Undoubtedly those with some of the most heartfelt memories of Loretta’s kindness are her husband David and daughters Erika and Megan. She cared for them tenderly, listened to them, counseled them and gave to them tirelessly without ever expecting anything in return. Her selfless devotion was greatly appreciated and will be missed.
Loretta was predeceased by her father, Angelo Parducci and her mother, Domenica Belli Parducci. She is survived by her sister Dona Sarno and her partner Judy Conrad , and sister Linda Bianowicz and her husband Bill Bianowicz. She leaves behind two sons-in-law; Sean Adams and Kevin Adams and seven grandchildren; Kaitlin, Karli, Kody, Konner, William, Gavin and David. Their adoring nickname for her was Nema.
Loretta’s death was a terrible shock. As her family grappled with unbearable grief, one final act of caring had yet to be revealed. On the very day she died a special delivery arrived on the porch of her daughter, Erika’s home. The package contained grandson David’s crisp, white Tae Kwon Do uniform shirt with several patches freshly sewn by Grandma. “Nema” always came through.
A memorial visitation will be held Thursday from 4-7 P.M. at the W.S. Clancy Memorial Funeral Home, 244 North Main St. Branford. In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be made to the Branford Community Dining room, 30 Harrison Ave., Branford, CT 06405.
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