site image


Grace (Kelley) Breslin

August 1, 1922 ~ March 8, 2019 (age 96)
Obituary Image

Age 96, in Newton formerly of Brighton, passed away peacefully on March 8, 2019 at Elizabeth Seton Residence, Wellesley, surrounded by her family that loved and honored her so much. Grace was born August 1, 1922 to the late David J. Kelley, Sr. and Grace (Kennedy) Kelley. She grew up in Somerville, graduated Somerville High in 1940 and earned her bachelor’s degree in foreign languages from Radcliffe College in 1944. During her last term at Radcliffe, Grace was recruited to attend USNR Midshipmen’s School in Northampton preparing to become one of the American Women Code Breakers of WWII. Grace served her country from 1944 to 1946 as Ensign Kelley, a Communications Officer and Educational Services Officer, first at CNO-Communications in Washington, DC, and then at Chelsea Naval Hospital in Massachusetts, where she completed her service. Grace was honored with both the WWII American Theatre Ribbon and the Victory Ribbon. 


Grace was the beloved wife of the late Edwin R. Breslin for 47 years, and the loving mother of Robert Breslin and wife Chris of Lexington, Patricia Breslin and husband Ron Matlin of Palm Springs, Gregory Breslin and wife Margie of Chestnut Hill, Mary Blais and husband Leo of Lowell, Rose Breslin of Newton, Edwin R. Breslin, Jr and wife Barbara of Hyde Park, Richard Breslin of Lowell, Grace Sullivan and husband Brendan of New Bedford, Genevieve Cahill and husband Kevin of Roslindale, Dorothy DiBenedetto and husband Alan of North Andover, Ellen Breslin of Newton, and Charles Breslin and wife Nancy of Newton. Grace was the cherished grandmother of 23 grandchildren and 18 great grandchildren. She is survived by her brother, Honorable Richard S. Kelley of Braintree, and many loving nieces and nephews. Grace was the sister of the late David Kelley, James Kelley, Margaret Wall, Dr. John Kelley, and Mary Kelley.


Grace had a deep love of family. Selected as one of “Those Remarkable Women of Radcliffe” published in the December 1978 Radcliffe Quarterly, Grace wrote, “It would take more space than I have here to tell you of the overwhelmingly generous share and sharing of life that has been mine, of the great wealth of all those things that money can never buy that is mine, and of the love that unites my husband to me, our children to us and to each other, and their children to all.” Grace also had a love of learning and of community. In her later years, she earned a certificate in Gerontology from UMass Boston, and attended Learning and Retirement classes at Boston College. She served on local committees such as West Suburban Elder Services, the Newton Corner Neighborhood Association, and Friends of Newton Parks and Recreation, to name a few. Grace taught English as a Second Language at the Newton Library, drawing on her language skills of fluent Spanish, Portuguese and French, and later German. For several years, Grace served as Executive Assistant to Father Carney Gavin, Curator of the Archives of Historical Documents at The Harvard Semitic Museum. Grace had many natural talents, from leading inspiring homework sessions, to knitting and sewing chic clothing for her family, to tending her garden. Some of her favorite activities included reading from her personal library, walking at Castle Island, enjoying one-on-one time with her children, and traveling with family. 


Funeral from the Lehman Reen & McNamara Funeral Home Friday March 15th at 9am.  Followed by a Funeral Mass in St. Ignatius Church 28 Commonwealth Ave. Chestnut Hill at 10am.  Relatives and friends are kindly invited to attend.  Visiting Hours Thursday March 14th from 4-8 pm.  Interment St. Joseph Cemetery, West Roxbury.


The family would like to thank the staff and fellow residents at Elizabeth Seton Residence for their loving care and kindness to their mother, Grace. Expressions of sympathy may be made in Grace’s memory to Elizabeth Seton Residence, 125 Oakland St., Wellesley, MA 02481. 

© 2019 Lehman, Reen, McNamara Funeral Home. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS