The angels came down from heaven for the most wonderful mother, grandmother and great-grandmother in the world. Grace Whiffen, died peacefully, April 20, 2013, after battling diabetes more than 50 years.

Grace was born in Rockland, Oct. 14, 1934, the daughter of Carmella and Mike LaGrassa. Living in “Little Italy” in the North End of Rockland and being the daughter of immigrants, she was very proud of her Italian heritage. Her mother died when she was 2 years old and Grace was brought up by her aunt, "Grammie" and her father Mike. Even though she and her only sister, Mary, were separated by distance, they were "two peas in a pod."

Mary was Grace’s closest friend. She made lifelong friendships with her many cousins who lived beside her. She cherished her cousins Frances and Nellie. She lived in the old neighborhood “Little Italy," and on the same street her whole life. The neighborhood changed over the years, but Grace was a fixture on Perry Street, and her family liked to think of her as the “matriarch."

Grace graduated from Rockland schools and during good health she kept in touch with her class, looking forward to their class of 1953 reunions. She worked at Chisholms Spa in Rockland, and was a waitress for many years at the Thorndike Hotel. She was one of the best roller skaters around and enjoyed roller skating through her mid-50s until she struggled with heart disease. To fill her time when she couldn’t roller skate, she took up beano and watching the Red Sox. To say that she was an avid Red Sox fan was an understatement. In 1975 she married Edward Whiffen to whom she was married 27 years. In those 27 years Eddie loved Grace for who she was and encouraged Grace to fill her time with her favorite things, especially beano, lawn sales and the Red Sox. He adored her.

Grace was a devoted mother and grandmother. Even though her life was difficult at times, she showed her children what it took to be strong and showed them unconditional love each and every day. Always a willing babysitter for her grandchildren, her house was complete with a crib, playpen and toys, waiting for the next grandchild to come along that she could devote her love too.

Grace was a devoted Catholic who attended mass at St. Bernard’s Catholic Church in Rockland. Whenever anyone came over to visit she had EWTN on and was a devoted follower of Sister Angelica. She was always worried about others and not herself, even as her health declined. Her prayer list was ever changing.

After the death of her husband in 2002, and as her circle became smaller and smaller, Grace found a new social circle at Shaw’s supermarket. Her 15 minutes of fame was cutting the ribbon at Shaw’s grand re-opening this past year. Her family came to know that her second family at Shaw’s supermarket in Rockland, was equally important to her as her first family. She knew all their names and was pleased to hear that seeing Grace arrive everyday with her hello and ever present smile, “Set the tone for the day."

Predeceased by her husband Edward in 2002, Grace is survived by her special Puggle Toby, whom she adopted from Hurricane Katrina; her sister Mary Brown and her husband Tim of California; nieces Sheila Brown and Mary Frances Parmenter; four children and their spouses, Michelle and David Ames of South Thomaston, Susan and John Root Jr. of Rockland, John H. Skinner III of Bremen, Terri-Jo and Sarco Kirklian of Rockport; a special step-son and his wife, Chris and Linda Whiffen of Florida; 10 grandchildren, Travis and Toby Ames, Michael Root, Dustin Sullivan, Anthony and Grace Kirklian, Jennifer Whiffen Griffith and Chris Whiffen, Heather Peterson and John A. Root III; a special great-grandson, Alexander Ames; as well as other extended family.

Private services are in the care of Burpee, Carpenter & Hutchins Funeral Home, 110 Limerock St., Rockland. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Pope Memorial Humane Society of Knox County, P.O. Box 1294, Rockland, ME 04841. To share a memory or story with Grace family, please visit her online Book of Memories at bchfh.com.