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The passing of “a proud Marine”

WHY VETERANS LIKED HIM Saugus Veterans Council Commander Stephen L. Castinetti described Marty Grainey’s personality as “strong, outgoing and sometimes gregarious.”
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Marty Graney – a loving family man, “a friend of Saugus” and an advocate for fellow veterans – dies at age 79

  Friends in the local veterans community described Marty Graney as “a proud Marine” and an unassuming Saugonian who preferred to work quietly behind the scenes to help his fellow vets while keeping his personal life private. But at their Tuesday (April 19) night meeting – just a day after his death at age 79, selectmen gave Graney a public tribute by honoring him with a moment of silence that was followed by some words of high praise.

  “Marty was a long time vet from Saugus, who was a well-respected member of the community,” Board of Selectmen Chair Anthony Cogliano said, before calling the meeting to order.

  “He was a very proud Marine and Marty will surely be missed,” Cogliano said.

  Board of Selectmen Vice Chair Debra Panetta called Graney “a wonderful person.”

  “He was giving. He was at all the different functions, and I feel as though I lost a friend and a friend of Saugus, because he was everywhere. He gave so much of himself to this town, and God Bless him and his family and my sincere condolences,” Panetta said.

  Family members, relatives, friends and acquaintances will get to pay their respects to Graney today (Friday, April 22) during visiting hours in the Bisbee-Porcella Funeral Home (549 Lincoln Ave., Saugus) from 3 to 6 p.m. A funeral will be held from the funeral home tomorrow (Saturday, April 23) at 9 a.m. followed by a funeral mass in St. Margaret’s Church (431 Lincoln Ave., Saugus) at 10 a.m. Burial will be in Riverside Cemetery in Saugus.

“Always ready to lend a hand to those in need”

  Local veterans leaders this week remembered Graney as a reliable veteran who was active in veterans events and was always committed to helping those who served who found themselves needing help.

  “Yes, the news of Marty’s passing is certainly spreading far and wide,” former Veterans Service Officer Jay Pinette told The Saugus Advocate.

  “I think this is a function of the fact that Marty was very well known and had a lot of support and friends around town. Marty was always ready to lend a hand to those in need,” Pinette recalled of his working relationship with Graney on projects that helped town veterans.

  “Even as his health was starting to become an issue, ‘do you need a hand’ was usually the next thing that he would ask after ‘how ya doin’,” he said.

  Pinette, 67, a U.S. Marine veteran who lives in Wakefield, retired from his part-time position at Town Hall last week after four years.

  Saugus Veterans Council Commander Stephen L. Castinetti described Graney as a modest man who continued to make huge contributions to the betterment of area veterans right up til the final weeks of his life. “Marty Graney… there was only one and, if you knew him, you never forgot him,” said Castinetti, a retired U.S. Navy captain.

  “Marty was a proud Marine who was always present and committed to veterans functions, parades, ceremonies and more. Whether it was a Veterans Council meeting in Saugus or the Marine Corps Birthday Veterans Day ceremony at Beverly High School, Marty was there,” Castinetti told The Saugus Advocate.

  “On April 4th, the Saugus Veterans Council had our monthly meeting, and Marty arranged for the Commander of the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home to be our guest that evening. Even though he had great difficulty and was at the end of his life, Marty didn’t give up. He faced that adversity like a true Marine…head on, and plowed forward to the end,” he said. “His personality was strong, outgoing and sometimes gregarious. But you expected that of Marty Graney. Marty was himself and people respected him for that. He was a presence that will certainly leave a void in the veterans community of Saugus and beyond. RIP, Marty. Your tour is over. We have the watch. Semper fi, Marine.”

“A true American patriot”

  In a brief interview last fall after discovering that he had been the subject of a drawing in The Saugus Advocate’s“Guess Who Got Sketched” Contest, Graney said he moved here from Malden about 50 years ago “because Saugus at the time had one of the best school systems in the state.”

  “All of my children – Mark R. (1984), Kristine L. (1986) and Sean P. (1990) – all graduated from Saugus High. I’m very proud of my children,” he said.

  “I hope you don’t plan on writing anything on me, as I prefer to remain behind the scenes,” he said. While he enjoyed being the subject of a sketch, Graney made it clear to a reporter that he didn’t like details of his life being mentioned even in a short story explaining “who got sketched.”

  But there were plenty of details of an impressive life that appeared in the obituary approved for publication by his family, which noted that he was born in Malden, but “lived most of his adult life in Saugus.”

  “Marty was a true American patriot who served his country in the United States Marine Corps from 1960-1964,” according to the obituary.

  “He also served in the Massachusetts National Guard from 1981-1998. Following his retirement from the MBTA in 1992, he became a reservist with FEMA and served in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the 9/11 terrorist attacks among many other deployments,” the obituary continued.

  “His community service was extremely important to him. He was active in the Saugus veteran community including serving as the Chair of the Monument Park Committee and on the Board of the Saugus Veterans Relief Fund. He was also a member of the Portuguese American War Veterans in Peabody, where he served as the financial overseer.”

  Other community service activities included volunteering with the Saugus Lions Club, at the Saugus Food Bank and with Catholic Relief Services following Hurricane Mitch in 1999 when he went to Nicaragua to rebuild a bridge.

  Graney was the husband of the late Patricia Graney. He leaves his children: Mark Graney and his wife Sandra Harris-Graney, Kristine Graney Foye and her husband Robert Foye, and Sean Graney and his wife Vanessa Stalling; several grandchildren; several siblings; and his long-term companion, Patricia Rosa.

  In lieu of flowers, donations are being requested for the Saugus Veterans Relief Fund, courtesy of Veteran Services Office, 298 Central St., Saugus, MA 01906.

a veteran amongst friends
A VETERAN AMONGST FRIENDS: Even as his health deteriorated, U.S. Marine veteran Marty Graney (front) didn’t allow his mobility challenges and breathing problems from restricting his involvement in local veterans’ activities. Back row, left to right: Veterans Graves Registration Officer Randy P. Briand, Saugus Veterans Council Member Mary McKenzie and VFW Past Commander Nicholas Milo joined Graney at a POW/MIA ceremony at Veterans Park last fall. (Saugus Advocate file photo by Tara Vocino)
making a disabled veteran mobile again
MAKING A DISABLED VETERAN MOBILE AGAIN: In late 2018, Marine veteran Marty Graney (right) was one of a handful of local veterans who collaborated to get Navy veteran Chester Stentiford’s (front) motorized scooter working again. Left to right: Navy veteran Joe Dion and then-Saugus Veterans’ Service Officer Jay Pinette also helped to cut through bureaucratic barriers and make use of the seldom-used Veterans Relief Fund to get Stentiford’s wheelchair back out on the street. (Saugus Advocate file photo by Mark E. Vogler)

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