MIDDLETOWN – Margot Sullivan Grosvenor, a beloved wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and community leader, passed away peacefully on February 24, 2023 at the age of 93. Born in Newton, MA, Margot grew up in nearby Weston and married Richard Grosvenor in Beverly Farms, MA, in 1949. Their remarkable marriage spanned 67 years, during which Margot and Richard formed a dynamic team. Margot took pride in supporting her husband’s artistic and academic endeavors, while carving out her own unique path in life. Richard taught at St. George’s School in Middletown, RI, for forty years, and Margot played a vital role in the school community, hosting congenial teas that were popular with the students—and performing in ladies’ roles in the all-boys school drama productions.
Margot was a devoted mother to her three sons and a daughter. Her children affectionately called her “Mother Mountain” due to her love of hiking and recalled her as nurturing and supportive, always encouraging them to pursue their dreams and strive for excellence. Margot possessed a natural intuition but was also pragmatic in her approach to raising her children, and as a result, all of them flourished under her care.
Margot had a thirst for knowledge and was a lifelong learner. She studied ballet as a child and teenager and graduated from the Winsor School in Boston. Margot decided to pursue a nursing degree in her 40s from Newport Hospital, followed by a BS in Hospital Administration from Roger Williams College. She subsequently worked for Dr. Edwin J. Henrie, a respected Newport physician and surgeon, before making a career shift in 1983. She obtained her real estate license and became a top-selling agent at Prudential Real Estate.
Margot helped establish Island Ecology and served as its first executive director. Passionate about preserving the environment for future generations, she worked tirelessly to promote awareness and positive change in Newport County. She taught at St. Michael’s School, Newport, and served on the board of the Pennfield School for many years. Margot persuaded the Swinburne School board members to redirect their mission by selling the property that no longer served as a school and to create a scholarship fund for high school students pursuing college degrees. The scholarship continues to this day.
She was also a dedicated volunteer who contributed her time and expertise to the Colonial Dames, serving as president and attending as the RI delegate to the national convention in 2009. Margot was also actively involved in the upkeep and management of Bishop Berkeley’s historic home in Middletown as part of that organization. Additionally, Margot generously volunteered for many local nonprofits, including the Newport Art Museum, Norman Bird Sanctuary, and was a member of the Newport Garden Club. A problem-solver by nature, Margot earned the respect of all who knew her, quietly leading with hard work and high expectations for herself and others. We will never forget her warm smile and contagious charm, and she will always be remembered for her strength, determination, and kindness. Her legacy of love, compassion, and unwavering dedication to her family and community will live on. Margot will be deeply missed by all those who knew her.
Margot is survived by her sister, Diana Sullivan Spenski, her children and their spouses: Richard Curtis Grosvenor and Terry Taffinder of Newport, RI; John Kempthorne Grosvenor and Cheryl Hackett of Middletown, RI; James Brown Mason Grosvenor and Nina Barbaresi of Newport, RI; and Helene Goodman Sullivan Grosvenor and James Ben Asbel of Gill, MA. She was a cherished grandmother and great-grandmother. Her grandchildren include Amanda Mason Grosvenor; Andrew DeWolf Grosvenor and Sarah Katherine Bowering Grosvenor; Sherwoode Taffinder Grosvenor; Nancy Langdon Grosvenor Walters and Darren Earl Walters; Sarah Scott Grosvenor; John William Grosvenor and Marisa Olsen; David Glacken Grosvenor and Meredith Grosvenor; James Yuji Inaoka Grosvenor; Rachel Grosvenor Asbel; and Joseph Burnett Asbel. Her great-grandchildren include Theodore Eugene Grosvenor; Benjamin Otis George Grosvenor; Marin Scott Grosvenor; Waylan Richard Grosvenor; and Matilda Bee Grosvenor. She is also survived by Mary Ellen Grosvenor, mother of Sarah, William, and David; and step-grandchildren Meghan Galvin and Robert Galvin. Margot was predeceased by her parents, J Langdon Sullivan and Florence Greene (Sullivan) Howard, and her brother James R. O. Sullivan.
A Celebration of her Life will take place at St. Columba’s Chapel in Middletown, RI, at a date to be announced. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Aquidneck Land Trust, 790 Aquidneck Avenue, Middletown, RI 02842.
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