Grafton – Mary Gloria (Valladoa) Baskowski, late of Grafton, passed peacefully from this earth on the starry, clear night of Feb. 24, 2021, surrounded by several of her children and grandchildren.
She was predeceased by her parents, Helen (Regan) Valladoa and Francisco (Frank) Valladoa; brothers Francis, Richard and Mark Valladoa; sisters Helen Shanley and Jean Quinn; son Jeffrey Baskowski; grandson Nicholas Baskowski; and husband of 63 years, Joseph Baskowski, who passed away on Nov. 5, 2009.
She leaves a sister, Connie Gaucher of Fairhaven; sons Joseph and his wife Karen Shaw of Holliston, Stephen and his wife Carolyn of Gill, and Richard and his wif, Janet of Brookfield; daughter-in-law Anne Baskowski of Grafton; daughters Gloria Paradiso and her partner Wayne Haddad, Ann Gurney, and Carol Dauphinais and husband Craig, all of Grafton; 19 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
Mary was born on Jan. 8, 1923 in New Bedford, the third child of Helen and Frank Valladoa, and, at a young age, showed an aptitude and interest in the piano, so was tutored by a friend of the family. Thus began a lifelong love of classical music and the piano in particular, which she instilled in her children and shared with anyone who was lucky enough to find themselves in her orbit.
She graduated at the top of her class from New Bedford High School and established a piano studio, was on local radio music programs and continued her studies in Solfeggio at the New England Conservatory of Music.
One night, at a USO dance at the New Bedford Hotel, she met the love of her life, Staff Sergeant Joseph Baskowski, Company B, 57th Signal Battalion, United States Army. Their courtship occurred largely through letters they exchanged during the two years and four months that Joe was overseas during WWII. These letters have become a testament to the power of love and the value of commitment, loyalty, sacrifice and patience, virtues that Mary lived all her life and tried to pass on to her children and grandchildren.
Mary and Joe were married on Aug. 3, 1946, the year after he arrived home, and moved to Northbridge, where they started a family. From here they moved to Grafton to continue to raise their growing family and Mary continued to live until close to the end of her life.
During those years in Grafton, Mary’s door was always open, welcoming all. She loved to engage with people, was genuinely interested in having a dialogue, whether it was about politics, religion, philosophy or music.
Along with taking on all the tasks of managing a household and raising a family, Mary managed to go back to school and graduated from Worcester State College with a major in English. She valued education and always encouraged her children and grandchildren to “better themselves.” She taught this by her own example. When asked why she went back to get her degree, she said “I love being with young people.”
She supported her family in whatever endeavors they were involved in, whatever path they chose in life. She was a cheerleader, there for countless soccer games, football, plays, recitals, graduations, birthdays, always putting others first, making sure others were taken care of. Her loving nature, her kindness, her strength, her courage, her humor and her grace are all hallmarks of this beautiful soul: Mom, Nona, Mary, Mrs B.. We love you!
There will be a funeral Mass for Mary on Saturday, March 6, at 11 a.m., at St. James Catholic Church in South Grafton, immediately followed by burial beside her beloved Joe at Fairview Cemetery in South Grafton.
In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that people celebrate life with their families, help someone in need, scatter seeds of kindness. or plant something in your yard and think of Mary.