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John R. Graceffa Jr.

Oct 17, 2020

Dr. John R. Graceffa Jr., a long-time resident of Nashua and Hollis, New Hampshire, died at the home of his daughter, Laura, in Albany, New York, on Oct. 13, 2020, after enduring several months of cancer. He was 81 years old.

Jack, as he was known to his friends, grew up in a tight-knit community in East Boston, Massachusetts, the son of John R. Graceffa and Tillie (Santo) Graceffa. He attended Boston College High School, where he made a group of life-long friends. He played high school hockey, and enjoyed the outdoors.

Jack attended St. Michael’s College in Vermont, becoming a proud “Purple Knight,” and a strong believer in the power of a liberal arts education. He majored in biology, setting his sights on dental school in order to enter a profession that would allow him to help people, be his own boss and work with his hands.

Upon returning to Boston to attend Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, Jack married his childhood sweetheart, Charlotte Casale. Their first child, Laura, was born just before he graduated. Jack then enlisted for two years in the U.S. Army, serving as a captain in the Dental Corps. The Army sent him to Fort Benning, Georgia, where his son Paul was born.

In 1967, the young family moved to Nashua, where Jack’s dental practice thrived, and his family grew to five with the arrival of his daughter, Maria. Charlotte joined Jack’s practice as office manager and insurance coordinator. Dr. Graceffa served as president of the Nashua Dental Society and the New Hampshire Academy of General Dentistry. Friendship and respect amongst the dental community during those years was strong and continued to the end of his life. Jack and Charlotte sold the practice 1997, and entered into an active retirement. They explored the beautiful United States, especially the West, in a motor home.

Jack had both a love and a talent for the arts. He spent years throwing pottery in his home potter’s studio. He fell in love with photography and combined this with his love of travel and nature, roaming the country and the world, with Charlotte and a camera. In his retirement, Jack became an accomplished wood turner. He was a juried member of the League of NHCraftsmen, selling his pieces in League shops and participating in the League’s annual craftsman fair. He learned pastels and acrylic painting, and most recently took up watercolor painting. Along with his love for the arts, he enjoyed attending live repertory theater performances and opera.

Jack had an unconditional love for dogs, and they for him. He cared about preserving the environment, sending essays to friends and family about our obligation to care for the planet, every Earth Day. He was a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashua, and developed a close group of friends who shared his humanist perspective. He was fascinated by astrophysics, and had a strong philosophy that science would progress to alleviate human suffering one day.

Jack was predeceased by his wife of 54 years, Charlotte, who died in 2017. Jack is survived by his children, Laura Graceffa and husband Mark Schlessman, of Albany, New York, Paul Graceffa of Revere, Massachusetts, and Maria Graceffa Taylor and husband Patrick Taylor of Oakton, Virginia. He will also be missed by his four grandchildren, John Roy and Ariana Schlessman and Amelia and Olivia Taylor, as well as his sister, Marion Romano of Danvers, Massachusetts, and his companion Elaine Kauffman of Boston, Massachusetts.

Jack was predeceased by his wife, Charlotte, and sister, Doris Martin of Falmouth, Massachusetts. He will also be remembered fondly by his nieces and nephews.

Interment of ashes will be at the East Cemetery in Hollis at the convenience of the family. Donations in Jack’s memory can be made to Beaver Brook Association (beaverbrook.org; 117 Ridge Road, Hollis NH 03049) or a charity of your choice.