Michelle G. Grybowski, 67, Clayton, died on Thursday, March 31, 2022, at her home, under the care of family, friends, and Hospice of Jefferson County.
Born June 14, 1954, in Newark, N.J., she was the daughter of Selig and Norma Burshtok Tevelow. She also resided in Old Bridge and Cranford, N.J., attending local schools.
She held a Bachelor’s degree in Human Communication from Douglass College, New Brunswick, N.J. and a Master’s degree in Social Work from Rutgers University.
She was an administrative assistant for Rickel Home Centers between college and graduate school and was a case manager for SERV Centers of New Jersey after receiving her M.S.W. degree. She went on to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.
She met her husband, Stephen T. Grybowski, while they both worked at the Rutgers University Student Center. They were married on August 7, 1977 at Temple Emanu-El, Edison, N.J. with Rabbi Alfred Landsberg presiding. The couple lived in New Brunswick, N.J. until moving to Clayton.
In 1982, her husband was recruited to practice family medicine at the Clayton Area Health Center and she was recruited to be the Director of the Family Counseling Service of Northern New York. She held this position for ten years until starting her private psychotherapy practice, retiring in 2018.
She served as chairperson of the Jefferson County Community Services Board. She was initiation level manager, general manager, and president of Thousand Islands Youth Hockey. She held the post of principal of the Sunday school at Degel Israel Synagogue, Watertown. She volunteered on the building planning committee at Thousand Islands High School and was coordinator of the Valentine’s Day Dessert Theatre and chairman of the after-prom committee. She served for one term as a Village of Clayton Trustee after waging a write-in campaign.
She started the Jazz in the Classroom program as an offshoot of the Clayton Jazz Festival. The program brought master classes in jazz music to local schools, featuring a New York City based ensemble, the Brighton Beat.
She and her family hosted an American Field Service exchange student, Laura Grob, of St. Gallen, Switzerland from 2005 to 2006.
Mrs. Grybowski was a long-time fan of the Beatles, and attended their 1966 concert at Shea Stadium. She also attended George Harrison’s Concert for Bangladesh, and saw Paul McCartney perform many times. She enjoyed Broadway musicals and British crime dramas. She was a charter member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Cleveland, Ohio. She and her husband were also charter members of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington D.C.
She was known for crocheting blankets as gifts for special occasions.
Surviving, besides her husband, are a son and his wife, Julian and Tomoko, Osaka, Japan, a daughter and her husband, Hannah and Erin Broihier, Hohenfels, Germany, a sister, Ellen Joy Glasman, Middletown, Delaware, granddaughters Elena Nakata and Maya Nakata Grybowski, and grandsons Joshua Nakata Grybowski, and Seamus and Jordy Broihier. A sister, Stacy Leigh, died in 1992.
Arrangements are with Cleveland Funeral Home. A memorial service will be held at Degel Israel Synagogue, 557 Thompson Blvd., Watertown, on Sunday, April 3 at noon. There will be visitation at the synagogue prior to the funeral, starting at 11 a.m. Burial will follow at Degel Israel Cemetery, 22644 Cook Road, Watertown. Shiva will be observed at the family home, 415 Merrick St., Clayton.
Donations are suggested to Degel Israel Synagogue, Hospice of Jefferson County, 1398 Gotham St., Watertown, the Northern New York Community Foundation, 131 Washington St., Watertown, or a music or human rights charity of one’s choice.
Online condolences may be shared at www.clevelandfhinc.com.
Hospice of Jefferson County
1388 Gotham Street, Watertown NY 13601
Northern New York Community Foundation
131 Washington St, Watertown NY 13601
Degel Israel Synagogue
557 Thompson Blvd, Watertown NY 13601