Obituary of Grace Helen McCabe
December 30, 2019
Grace Helen McCabe. — of E. 16th Street passed away at Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital on December 30, 2019. She was the dearly beloved aunt of Christopher, Monica and Maura McCabe, Margaret (McCabe) and Robert McMonagle, loving great aunt of Ian Philip McCabe Porteus, sister of John McCabe (deceased) survived by his wife Doris; sister of Edward McCabe, Joan (McCabe) and Pasquale Stufano (all deceased).
Born in New York City on October 31, 1929, Grace was raised with three older siblings by their parents Grace (Boylan) McCabe and John Christopher McCabe on E. 90th Street. They lived in the same tenement where their mother was raised by aunts Tessie (Nanny) and Minnie, the maiden daughters of Frank Theissing.
Grace's household was bilingual with both English and German spoken. In her neighborhood a different language was spoken on every block: Irish, Yiddish, German and English. Grace attended grammar school at Our Lady of Good Counsel (OLGC) and could choose to go to German mass at St. Joseph's on 87th Street or hear English Mass at OLGC Church on 90th Street. Recently her family learned that Grace's grandmother, Gladys (Posin) Earlcott, emigrated from Germany at age two.
Grace was an alumna of Cathedral High School and graduate of Goddard College where she wrote a thesis on social protest movies of the 1930's. A gifted student, she often went to British films at her favorite theater on First Avenue. She loved all movies and maintained an encyclopedic knowledge without the need for google. Later in life Grace adapted to blindness with a cassette reader and determination to read everything possible with the help of her dedicated friends at the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library.
She worked for the Revson brothers (Revlon) handling several product lines, so was client to their respective ad agencies. After Revlon, she followed a coworker to join Muzak, LLC.
Beginning in the 1960's, Grace became a federal government field officer implementing programs such as VISTA, Job Corps and Head Start for the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO). She was responsible for regions in upstate New York and Maine, serving the Native American Passamaquoddy and Penobscot tribes.
In the early 1970's, Grace was appointed interim Director of the National Organization for Women (NOW), the largest feminist group in the U.S.
She was a representative of the National Women's Political Caucus (NWPC) (the Caucus), a multi-partisan organization that works to support women who seek elected office at all levels of government in the United States.
At the time of her death, Grace was serving on the board of Empire BlueCross BlueShield.
Grace enjoyed bringing her nieces, nephew, god daughters and close friends to the Russian Tea Room, El Quijote, the ballet and theater. She gave her family and close friends a home away from home in Manhattan.
Anyone who met Grace would be struck by her intelligence and wonderful sense of humor. She and her eldest brother John "Jack" McCabe would often trade barbs in familial battles of wit, and Jack was often forced to admit that he'd been bested. Grace was fond of saying, "I sang with Sinatra, I danced with Astaire, I bantered with Bogart, I'm walking on air."
The family would like to extend heartfelt thanks to Zelda Warner, Grace's extraordinary friend, neighbor, executive producer and invaluable champion.
Thanks, also, to Rashida Brunswick-Warren, her compassionate and fiercely devoted caregiver. She was the cream in Grace's coffee and the family would truly have been lost without her.
In lieu of flowers, please give what you can by check or money order to: The New York Public Library, c/o 40 West 20th Street, New York, NY 10011 to be used by the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library. Or please consider gifts to the ACLU, Southern Poverty Law Center, Planned Parenthood or any progressive cause.
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Thank you for some great memories and are visits in NY, RIP Dear Grace
Posted by: Donna Rochon - Bellefonte, PA - January 15, 2020