Penelope G (Griswold) PlaceMarch 14, 1924 ~ May 21, 2017 (age 93)
Penelope Griswold Place, resident of Cohasset for 60 years, passed away peacefully Sunday, May 21, 2017. Pen was born on March 14, 1924 in the kitchen of her family home in Boston, MA to Penelope Griswold and Roger Griswold. Pen was constantly curious and engaging with people and places. She was well traveled, from childhood years in France to working at Salzburg Global Seminar to traveling around the world. After graduating from Vassar in 1945, Pen worked in the banking business until she married David Elliott Place in 1952 and started her family of four children.
After settling in Cohasset in the early ‘50’s, Pen became a devoted advocate for conservation, helped to start the first recycling program in Cohasset and led a tree planting program in the schools. An avid gardener, Pen was an early member of the Cohasset Garden Club. She cultivated with care a 3-acre garden at 63 Summer Street in Cohasset for 5 decades. Her gardens were so spectacular that, in 1997, the Smithsonian documented them in their Archives of American Gardens. Her flower arrangements adorned many a church and festivity. Pen’s garden was a place for folks seeking communion with nature, an after school playing field for pick up baseball games, and a treasure trove for other flower arrangers. She was extremely generous, allowing people to cut flowers for special occasions, hosting charity events, advocating for wetlands and nature conservation, and helping many people in need.
She was very active at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church of Cohasset, serving as a member of the vestry, singing in the choir, heading the ‘angelic gardeners’, and participating in several other ministries there for over 60 years.
A devoted, open-minded Christian with a sharp intellect, she earned a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School in 1981, at the age of 57.
She used her knowledge and deep compassion to help others with lay ministry in Cohasset and Mt. Desert Island, Maine where she summered all her life. Pen truly felt that the island was her other home and fully immersed herself in the community. As a Mt. Desert local said of her, “No summer person, from my perspective, ever melded in and had the respect of local people as much as Penny…The generosity overflowed to those of us who would not have had the splendor without her.” She delighted in sharing this special Maine retreat with her children, grandchildren and many friends.
Pen is survived by her children, Elliott Place and his wife, Lucy Sagansky, of Hingham, MA, Richard Merrill Place and his wife, Maireda Place, of New York City, Penelope Place Gleason and her husband, Bob Gleason, of Telluride, CO, Josiah Richardson Place of Plymouth, MA, and grandchildren, Nathan Place, Rachel Place, Mark Place, Isaac Place, step-grand-daughters Nadia Shapiro, Kelli Gleason and Galena Gleason, her husband Ryan Howe, and step-grandson, Tiyo Howe. She also leaves her sister, Hope McCrum, of Santa Rosa, CA, her sister-in-law, Stephanie Griswold, plus several nieces and nephews. She was pre-deceased by her sister, Anne Merrill Noble; her brother, Roger Griswold and her former husband, David E. Place.
Services will be held at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church at 16 Highland Avenue in Cohasset, MA on June 10, 2017, at 11 am. A second memorial service will be held at St. Andrew’s Church in Seal Cove, ME on August 12, 2017, at 10 am. Her family requests that, in lieu of flowers, gifts in remembrance of Penelope G. Place be made to St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church of Cohasset (designated specifically to the Outreach Committee) or to the Maine Coast Heritage Trust.