Grace M. Rinaldi August 16, 1916 – March 1, 2012 Grace Marie Rinaldi, 95, of Hawthorne, CA., passed away on Thursday, March 1, 2012. She is survived by four children; Patricia Edie of Playa Del Rey, Charles Rinaldi of Huntington Beach, Arthur "Fred" Rinaldi. of Manhattan Beach and Cathy Swart of Hawthorne, along with 8 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren. She is preceded in death by her beloved husband, Arthur Rinaldi, who passed in 1982. Affectionately known as "Amazing Grace" for the incredible dedication and service she displayed throughout her lifetime, Grace was characterized by her commitment to Jesus Christ and an overriding spirit of self-sacrifice that pervaded every aspect of her life, none the least of which was her devotion to her family, her friends and her God. Born in Lorain, Ohio as the second of four children to Sicilian immigrants, Fred and Frances Montalto, Grace immediately displayed the spirit of ambition and achievement that would characterize her lifetime. Educated in Lorain's public schools, Grace was the first women in her family to earn a college diploma, graduating from Kent University with a degree in Upper Elementary Education. It was during her time at Kent University that she met "the love of her life," Arthur "Archie" Rinaldi. The couple married in 1940 and began building a family. During this period, Grace began her career as a school teacher, teaching in a variety of public and parochial schools throughout Kent. In 1953, Grace's fourth child, daughter Cathy, was born with cerebral palsy – a circumstance that would shape Grace's future, and that of her entire family, for the rest of her life. In order to provide Cathy with the highest level of special education and therapy available at the time, Archie and Grace made the difficult decision to leave everything they held dear in Ohio, and move the family to California, settling in Hawthorne in 1955. Reared within a devout Roman Catholic Italian family, Grace's faith was paramount in her life. It was in Hawthorne that she began her lifetime "labor of love," serving the Catholic Church as a loyal parishioner at St. Joseph's Church in Hawthorne for more than 50 years. A cursory scan over the myriad of titles and responsibilities Grace maintained conveys a life marked by personal involvement, never content to simply stand by and observe. From liturgy coordinator, to lector, to Eucharistic Minister, her roles and responsibilities at St. Joseph's were far too extensive to enumerate. Few individuals will realize the depth and breadth of service, honor and achievements that Grace experienced over these years of service to her Church and to the evolving role of women within the Catholic community. For many, Grace will be most remembered for her four decades of service to both the Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women (ACCW) and the Catholic Daughters of the Americas (CDA). Grace served in all capacities for both organizations, ascending to positions of President of ACCW and National Regent for CDA, the highest-ranking offices within these organizations. In 1970, Grace would be faced with yet another challenge that would characterize the rest of her life when beloved husband Archie was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. For the next 12 years, until his passing in 1982, Grace would not only provide care and support to her ailing husband, but also assume a larger burden for her entire family. In an effort to meet increasing financial demands, Grace earned her license to provide travel agent services, subsequently organizing and leading trips to the Holy Land. Amazing is the fact that Grace rose to the challenges presented by her husband's deteriorating health, while still maintaining her wide breadth of responsibilities and service to the Church. During this period, a variety of honors were bestowed on Grace, most notable of which were the Pro Ecclesia Et Pontiface Medal from Pope John Paul II, Cardinal's Award for esteemed service to the Church and Archdiocese of Los Angeles, St. Elizabeth Anne Seton award for work with youth and the ACCW Moderator's Award for her ongoing dedication to the Church and community. Additionally, Grace enjoyed several rare and unforgettable experiences, including a private audience with Pope John Paul II at the Vatican, meetings with Mother Theresa and President George Bush, and traveling to Beijing where she was a U.S. representative at the Non-Governmental Organizations Forum on Women. As numerous and impressive as her achievements were, Grace always displayed humility, giving credit to others. "In honoring a person, you also honor others, as no person functions alone," she said. "You get more fulfillment from serving others, through the lasting friendships you form that sustain you through life." Grace leaves a legacy of self-sacrifice, perseverance, achievement and commitment to family and faith that will inspire and guide her family for generations to come. Her love and leadership will be missed by all who were fortunate enough to have known her. In lieu of flowers donations may be sent for the benefit of Cathy and Karl Swart, payable to Fred Rinaldi, 1772 Voorhees Ave, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266.

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  1. My prayers and condolences on Grace’s passing. I am so sorry that as the State CDA Chaplain I cannot attend as the State CDA Conference is the same weekend in Pleasanton CA. We shall celebrate Mass of Grace’s eternal rest during the conference.

  2. Grace was my all-time favorite teacher.Prior to her class the nuns always scared the living crap out of me. She was the first that made the process of education a pleasure instead of torture. Long past school, I ran into her frequently at Mass where she was the lector on Saturday evenings. She greeted my husband one evening after Mass to tell him about her ethnic background which I never thought of her in that way before. She was even able to throw out a few Italian words to his delight! She will be missed.

  3. Mrs. Rinaldi was my teacher at St Joseph’s Catholic School in Hawthorne in the 1950’s. She is the only teacher I ever remembered. She was a strong woman with great faith. She molded me to become the woman I am today. My prayers go out to her Family and to her Students who I am sure are many. The class of 1960 will never forget her and always have a special place in their hearts for her. Love, Linda Governale Class of 1960

  4. I loved Grace for what she taught me; for how she inspired me; for who she was. My prayers go out to her family.

  5. My memories are when Grace was head of the Junior CDA. We had a troop in Santa Ana. She was an inspiration to all of us. We enjoyed working with her in that capacity. Our love and prayers go out to the family. God Bless. Roberta and Paul Ninichuck

  6. Grace was always quite the taskmaster, but dearly loved Catholic Daughters and made carrying out those tasks a joy. My deepest sympathy to all those who loved Grace….

  7. I’ve known Grace over 20 years and loved and respected her as a person and a Catholic Daughter. She was a leader and always a friend to all she met. She will be missed. Past Regent CDA #1387

  8. Grace had many sides to her personality. She demanded respect and it was well deserved. Her strength was evident in the way she led her life and the many, many involvements she had. I cannot think of Grace without seeing her with her beloved husband and her daughter Kathy. I have known her for at least 35 years. She was confident and strong and led with a steady hand and a watchful eye. Working with Grace on various Catholic Daughter committees was always a learning experience. I will truly miss your beloved Grace and remember her fondly especially her smile which she shared often. There are so many stories that come to mind as I write this note. She often shared her family history and her roots to Ohio prior to moving out West. Although it was often two years between our visits, it always felt like we picked up where we had just left off. When Grace spoke at the 2010 National CDA Convention in New York she said “this will probably be my last convention.” Maybe that is true of her earthly existence but I know her spirit will be with us when we gather this July in Omaha. May she rest in peace.

  9. Serving with Grace on the National Board of the Catholic Daughters of the Americas was a privilege. Her strong leadership and extensive knowledge was an encouraging example to all of us on the board. I truly enjoyed working with Grace and will miss her, especially at the National Convention.

  10. Grace; Even though you received your Angel Wings in Heaven. “You will always be the Catholic Daughter Voice in My Head” Thank you for “Gracing” my Life. Love, Pat Postal

  11. I’ll never forget Grace Renoldi my second grade teacher at St. Joseph’s. She will be mikssed. My prayers go out to her Family.

  12. I was blessed to have Grace Rinaldi as my 6th Grade Teacher. She exuded such joy! Her love for life was contagious. She had the gift of being able to instill confidence in her students. She was one of those rare human beings that everyone seemed to love. I wish her family comfort in knowing that this wonderful woman was appreciated by all who knew her.

  13. Now, Grace reaps her reward Iin God’s kingdom. She inherits the kingdom that was prepared for her.

  14. Grace was a terrific leader for the Catholic Daughters. I have many fond memories of being with her at National Conventions.

  15. Her life was an inspiration to so many people. She will forever be Mom to me. I send my deepest sympathy to all the family. Amazing Grace, I will miss her smile, but it will be in my heart forever.

  16. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you, Grace’s family. Grace & I worked for many years on the CDA and JCDA National Board. She was always a joy to be with—–so dedicated to the Catholic Daughters of the Americas. She indeed was a lady of great faith. I will always cherish our wonderful friendship.

  17. My deepest sympathies to the family of this wonderful woman who enriched our lives. She will be missed, but she is now with our Lord reaping her eternal reward. Dear Amazing Grace, you will be sadly missed by all. Mike Gonzales

  18. My condolences to Grace’s family. Grace was a beautiful lady bpth inside and out. God bless her for all her dedication to Catholic Daughters. She will be missed. Sharon K. Ramirez, Regent Ct. Teresa of Avila #1580 Lemon Grove, CA

  19. I remember how excited eveyone was when they knew Gracie (and her family) were coming to the Rosso Reunion. She was always a happy person. May memories of happy times keep her forever in your hearts.

  20. I am so sorry for your loss. I know there are no words that can take the pain away, but I am sending prayers for your family. May God comfort you all during this difficult time, Love, Kim,Christian and Hunter

  21. I was honored to call her my mother-in-law, she had more strength than anyone I know. Loved anyone who was a part of her family from past to present. And thank you to all my friends who have been kind enough to share your condolences.

  22. God rest Grace. A marvelous past national regent of the Catholic Daughters of the Americas. Nebraska remembers her with love.

  23. Who can ever forget Grace? With her sunny disposition, her laugh, and that voice! She reminded me of Ethel Merman, and when I told her, she laughed and said that she didn’t need a microphone, but that someone was always handing one to her! As a member of Catholic Daughters of the Americas, she was truly a leader to all of us, and we are all grieving in the loss of our leader, and a true Christian, who will always be missed. What a life she led, and what an Christian influence she was to all of us.

  24. I first met Grace in 1968 when she came to install the Officers of Court Marian in Long Beach, CA. Since then Grace has been in my life through the Los Angeles Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women. Always an inspiration, someone who was there to lift me when I needed it, such great women of the Lord. I missed Grace at the ACCW Conference last fall, it was just not the same without her. My prayers are with Cathy & Karl. Love & Prayers

  25. I have shared a lot of memories with her at St. Joseph’s and with the Jr. Catholic Daughters. She will be a bright light in heaven. I am so glad I made the reunion to see her.

  26. Fred & Sharon, I am sorry for you and your families loss. Grace was a wonderful lady, and will be remembered by so many. My prayers are with you all at this difficult time. God Bless. Love, Trisha Asay

  27. Mrs. Rinaldi was my 6th grade teacher when I transferred from public school in 1958. There is a reason I always remember her as my favorite teacher, as she treated all of us with great respect and was such an encourager. I played Little League, coached by Mrs. Rinaldi’s husband, who is in heaven reuniting with Mrs. Rinaldi. She was a great friend to my family and my 90-year old mom. Grace’s ministry inb late life was her daughter and son in law. A true servant of God, deserving of all the rewards she is now receiving. Well done, Grace.

  28. I first met Grace when she came to Hawthorne and came to the convent to register her son for school. Since both of our names were the same there was an immediate connection. Grace was a very couragous lady who loved life. I know she will be missed by many, but she is with her husband and her God and that gives her joy.

  29. Grace was my seventh grade teacher and an inspiration and support for my vocation. I often met her at the Archdiocesan Catholic Center and would always introduce her as “my seventh grade teacher.” The common response was “She looks younger than you!” She was so full of life and love. She will be greatly missed.

  30. Mrs. Rinaldi…a phenomenal lady, a wonderful teacher and one of Gods special angels both on earth and in heaven. It was an honor to have had her as my sixth grade teacher and to have known her for 55 years. She was an inspiration to all. Her memory will live on in my heart.

  31. Remebering Grace as a gather of ladies that get things done. She will fit right in in heaven. You are missed.

  32. Today we bury my mother Grace, she was a rock in this family and will be missed everyday. Thank you everyone who’s posted and was at the rosary last night. Mom’s finally reunited with her “Archie” after 30 years part. Love ya Mom

  33. Another angel has joined the choir of angels in heaven. Your life was a true example to all of us, your former students. We love you. Linda Acevedo Johnson

  34. Grace was a beautiful & wonderful person. She was the best teacher I have even had. She taught 5th grade when I was at St. Joseph Elem School. Our thoughts & prayers go to your entire family. I will never forget her as she was such a giving & patient person. Sincerely: Nancy Telford (Laity)

  35. I remember Mrs. Rinaldi as my 5th grade teacher in 1964, She was a very sweet,but strict teacher and diffiently a woman of God.I have very fond memories of Grace, and Mrs Moorfield, my 3rd grade teacher St. Joseph’s had some pretty great teachers, but Mrs Rinaldi and Mrs. Moorefield were special to me Jean Anne Robertson aka Jean Maughan

  36. I will miss Archie and Gracethey were our very good friends. Fran I had some very good times with them. What a wonderful person Jim

  37. I was so very sorry to hear today about Grace’s passing. She was a wonderful woman and a tremendous friend of my family. She will truly be missed.

  38. She was a real special lady and a loving inspirational teacher. I was fortunate to have her in two different grades (Class of 1970). Her departure is our loss but a blessing in heaven.

  39. we will miss you i remember when i cut the end of my finger off that you came and seen me at home i will never forget that.

  40. Pat, Chuck, Fred & Cathy, I was so sorry to hear of the passing of your Mom. I will always remember her smile and how she helped me when I was in Junior Catholic Daughters. My deepest sympathies to you all and may The Holy Spirit fill your hearts with the hole that has been left. Love to all, Marlene

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