Grant Willaman

From IAGSDCWiki

Charles Grant Willaman
24 Nov 1950 - 24 Apr 2004
Times Squares


Obituary

CHARLES GRANT WILLAMAN - 54, of Greenwich died unexpectedly at his home on Sunday, April 24. He was born November 24, 1950 in Sharon, PA. Grant came to Greenwich in 1993 and made his home with his cousin, Beth and her husband, John Cappiali and their children.

Mr. Willaman graduated from Penn State with a degree in theater arts in 1972. Upon graduating he moved to the Baltimore/Washington area where he excelled in costuming and landscape design. He continued his artistic interests in the Greenwich area, winning several awards and two Golden Trowels. Grant was active in the horticultural community belonging to the West-Fair Horticultural Society and the Plant Exchange when not designing and planting for Capp Industries, Inc., a Greenwich developer.

He expanded the scope of his creativity through furniture design, stained glass, hand-crafted quilts of original design, and had an avid interest in square dancing. Grant belonged to the Time Squares in Manhattan, taught classes and traveled frequently to exhibitions and competitions. He was renowned for his gourmet cookery and called upon at every celebration to provide the centerpiece dessert.

His numerous friends were the result of his wonderful spirit. Grant is survived by his parents, Robert and Joyce (Robb) Willaman his sisters Roberta (m. William Welsh), Amy (m. John Vanderstappen), and Hope (m. Charles Hamilton) all of Transfer, PA. He is also survived by his two nieces, Kimberley Welsh Brockway and Lynde Vanderstappen Brownlee, and three nephews, Grant and Travis Hamilton and Wesley Vanderstappen.

Grant will be sorely missed by his Greenwich family, John and Beth Cappiali and their children, Alia, Catarina, and Tasia Matacchieria and John Daniel Cappiali.

A private viewing will be held for the immediate family and memorial services will be arranged both in Connecticut and Pennsylvania.

A memorial service will be held on Sunday May 8th, 2005 at 1:00 PM at the Cappiali residence 38 Saint Roch Ave. Garden.[1]


Recollections

This past month has been a difficult time for Times Squares. We were all saddened by death of Grant Willaman, a member of our club since 1993. Everyone from our newest members (this year's mainstream class) to our longest-term members knew Grant. If you are a member of Times Squares you know he was an intricate part of the fiber that makes up the body and soul of our club.

Grant was, if not the first, one of the first members of Times Squares we became friends with when he angeled our mainstream class. I am sure a lot of other people can say the same thing of him, because Grant, over the years would angel classes two nights a week most of the time and would rarely miss a class even though he would have to travel down from Connecticut to be there.

We all enjoyed the delicious desserts he would make for us. We all remember the wonderfully creative costumes he would wear to our proms· and to Pee] the Pumpkin, and how this would add to the festivities. Last year he told us of an award he won for his garden in Connecticut and we remember thinking here is yet another way Grant brought joy to others by the things he did.

If you look at our club membership directory Grant included in the space provided for occupation the description "Renaissance Man'. How befitting.

There have been remembrances and gatherings for Grant here in New York, in Connecticut where he lived, and at the fly-in in Rehoboth Beach. People have gathered in the privacy of their homes to take time to stop to think and remember how beautiful a person Grant was and how lucky we were to have known him. Grant gave so very much of himself to our club, not only because of his love for square dancing, but because of his love for us, the people he befriended and those who befriended him.

Yes, it is sad to think maybe this world was never meant for someone as beautiful as you. We both know in our hearts that all of us will think often of the many things Grant did that touched our lives and our club, and we will always remember him, and his spirit will live on with us all. And for this, Grant, we are eternally grateful. -- Joho and John[2]


On April 30th, two dozen people left the dance floor at the Rehoboth Beach Convention Center and gathered outside, beneath a gazebo, to remember Grant Willaman. At the gathering, some people spoke of the friendship they had shared with Grant since his return to the club after an absence of several years. Some people spoke of their disappointment at not having known Grant better. Some people spoke of the support they had received from the square dance communjty at different points in their lives.

Everyone, it seemed. echoed the theme that our family had just experienced a profound loss. As, indeed, it truly had. So once again it may be appropriate to ask "What is a family?" and "Who alld what make up 'our family' at Times Squares?"

There are many definitions of the word "family." There are many people and organizations in Washington, DC and across the country that have narrowly and legally defined the term "family." There are religious communities that promote their view of family based on scripture and tradition. There are even people with whom we share a similar DNA, if not a similar outlook on life, who are ready to define “family" for us.

Do any of these people and groups speak for you? If not, then what does "our family" mean to you?

Is your family simply composed of the people with whom you choose to spend your free time? The people you ask to dance at PS 3'? The people who converse with you bet\veen tips? The people who ask about your week? The people who listen to your stories and offer empathy or advice? Are these the people with whom you have fonned social and emotional bonds?

Perhaps it would be easier to answer this question about our Times Squares family by just describing some of the things its members do for us: They volunteer their time to serve on the board of directors, chair committees. act as angels and archangels, book venues and callers, and update our website. They bake cookies and brownies and share them on club nights. They support our club by donating money to our treasury. And, yes, they come to our events and ask us to dance!

Does that sound like a “family" to you? It did to Grant Willaman. And so he let us know how much we meant to him. He baked for us, served on our committees, angeled at our classes, and boy did he let us know when we were lucky enough to be in a square with him! He proved himself to be an important part of our family.

Do you feel like a part of the Times Squares family? Do you consider Times Squares members to be a part of your family? How do you plan to let other Times Squares members know how much they mean to you? -- Rick Massi[3]


On Sunday, April 24, 2005, Grant Willaman died. Grant ended his life at the age of 54. I still cannot quite grasp the idea that I will not see Grant anymore, he was such a big part of my life. I met Grant in 1992 when he joined the Times Squares, after having taken a break from square dancing. Grant was quiet and shy in those days, favoring flowing shirts and his trademark ponytail. I remember seeing him, alone on a balcony. at a long ago convention, and thinking, "What a sweet man". And we became friends.

When Sherry (Kassel) phoned me the day after Grant died, to inform me of Grant's death, the world stopped. l saw him square dancing that past Friday. We chatted and hugged goodbye and I left square dancing early for an appointment. I did not know that would be my last moment with Grant.

Through many fly-ins and conventions, birthday parties, weddings, naked camp, happiness and tears, I always counted on Grant being there. Grant was a gentle soul, sweet and funny, sexy and flirty, witty and creative. I keep his picture handy these days because I still need him near me.

So goodbye and goodnight, Grant, be at peace. You made me very happy during your lifetime and I will never forget you. With all my love, -- David Kampel[4]


Sources

  1. GreenwichTime, May 2, 2005
  2. Times Squared newsletter, v.20 no.1 (Jun 2005), p.1
  3. Ibid., p.1,5
  4. Ibid., p.3