Former longtime Haverhill City Councilor Gene Patrick Grillo of Bradford and Seabrook Beach, N.H., died Sunday at age 94 at Anna Jacques Hospital, surrounded by his loving family.
Grillo was born on Oct. 18, 1927 in Lawrence. He graduated from Haverhill High School and received his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Biology from Boston College. Subsequently, he earned his doctorate in Physiology from Boston University in 1964.
During his junior year in college, Grillo joined the U.S. Army during World War II and served as part of the occupation force of Japan after that country’s surrender. Upon returning to Massachusetts after the war, he resumed his studies at BC. During this time, he met Rita Towne, the love of his life, and they were married Oct. 20, 1951.
After receiving his Master’s degree, Grillo was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force and he and Rita moved to San Antonio, Texas, where he worked and taught at the Air Force School of Aviation Medicine.
At the end of his military service, Grillo was stationed at Westover Air Force Base in Chicopee. He and Rita moved to Bradford in 1957 once he retired from the Air Force. Grillo enjoyed a 35-year career at Western Electric/AT&T in North Andover as a senior staff engineer for Occupational Health and Safety. During this time, he also stayed active in academia as an adjunct professor at Boston University’s Sargent College and as a member of BU’s Italian Studies Committee.
Grillo felt that it was important to give back to the community through public service and for many years served as a city councilor for the City of Haverhill, as well as a member of the Haverhill Board of Health and the Haverhill Historical Society. Sacred Hearts Parish in Bradford was an important part of his life. He worked with the Saint Vincent de Paul Society and helped organize the Saturday night dinner fundraisers for the church.
Grillo had a number of interests throughout his life. His favorite place was being on Seabrook Beach during the summer. He was an avid reader of both novels and technical journals and loved running with his friends who were all members of the Rudy’s Tigers Running Club that operated out of the Haverhill YMCA. His passion was gourmet cooking and was known far and wide for his Italian feasts that he loved to prepare for his friends and family.
He is survived by his sons Richard and his wife Susan of Newbury and Paul and his wife Mary of Exeter, N.H.; six grandchildren, Peter, Alex, Christopher, Lauren, Liza, and Andrew; two step-grandchildren, Cara and Aimee Frangipane; four great grandchildren, Madison, Camden, Enzo and Norah; and two sisters, Eleanor Grillo and Rita Volpone. His wife Rita, who died in February 2015, predeceased Gene.
Visitation hours will be at the H.L. Farmer and Sons Bradford Funeral Home, 210 S. Main St., Bradford, on Wednesday, Nov. 17, from 4-6 p.m. A Funeral Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Thursday, Nov. 18, 11 a.m., in Sacred Hearts Church, 165 S. Main St., Bradford. Following the service, interment with military honors will be at the Elmwood Cemetery in Bradford.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: Alzheimer’s Association of MA/NH, 480 Pleasant St., Watertown, MA 02472 or the Saint Vincent de Paul Society, Sacred Hearts Parish, 48 South Chestnut St., Bradford, MA 01835.