It is with deep sadness that we share the news that our beloved Audience Services Director, Grayce Coviello, died on May 12, 2020 as the result of a long illness.
Many of you may remember her warmth and beautiful smile as she greeted you in the lobby at SOPAC before a performance.
Grayce’s personality and professionalism greatly enhanced the patron experience and helped create a welcoming environment that made you feel special. Grayce was full of fun and spirit, and with her love of theater and performing created many memorable moments in the office regaling us with Broadway show tunes that seemed to well up inside her and burst out with pizzazz and emotion. Her passion for the performing arts was unquenchable. She reserved her greatest passion, however, for her children and grandchildren and longed to spend time with them as the Covid-19 virus began to spread throughout New Jersey.
Grayce fulfilled the promise of her name as she struggled to overcome the debilitating effects of her illness. Her radiant smile and laugh were part of our days, along with her sassy new hats that were color-coordinated with her outfits. Always upbeat and looking to the future, her sparkling blue eyes held you in thrall as she convinced you that we would never, ever lose her.
She was a consummate professional, and so much more. A devoted mother, grandmother and glorious office-mate whose true accomplishments in life centered around the love and empathy she emanated with her entire being. She was one in a million and can never be replaced. We are all fortunate to have known her and to have called her our friend. There is no doubt that she is singing show tunes with the angels right now. Forever loved, forever missed, forever our wonderful Grayce.
Memories of Grayce from our staff:
“A breath of fresh air, even on the most dreary days. Grayce was a welcomed beam of sunshine.” –Beth
“Grayce was always kind, generous, supportive, and she called me a Viking. I will miss her.” –Jeff
“She was such a comfort. Grayce was so supportive and positive. She was always one to look out for others and make the best of any situation. I learned so much from her example – to always find some levity, a reason to smile, to laugh; I will forever carry a part of her with me. ” – Katie
“I have so many memories of Grayce, and it is amazing to state that all of them are positive. I first met her during my interview when I first began working at SOPAC as a box office representative and house manager. She had such a bubbly and fun personality. When I filled in her position as the Audience Services Manager and she went on to be the Director, we got to know each other a lot more. Grayce was a passionate theatre lover, and I am as well. Whenever I can I try and participate in a show in NJ or in NY. Grayce was always supportive of my theatre career, and would help me with my schedule so that there were some weekends when I didn’t have to manage a show at SOPAC so I could be on stage elsewhere. Interact at The Baird was doing You Can’t Take It With You and I was cast in the play. It was absolutely perfect because I could go straight over after work easily and it was a play that I adored.
The first matinee of the show I was in the dressing room getting ready to go on stage, when I looked at the monitor that showed the theatre and guess who I saw? Grayce Coviello. I was so happy I wanted to go out and give her a hug. I knew how busy she was, taking on some extra shifts for me along with our normal work hours, but she still sacrificed a bit of her down time to see me in a play. It meant so much to me that she was there, supporting and cheering me on. That’s the kind of person Grayce was; a cheerleader. And not just because she stood by you, but she literally lit up rooms when she entered them and you couldn’t help but feel cheered by her. She became such an important part of my life, and I’m sure the same can be said for anyone else who had the luck of meeting her. I miss her dearly, but I feel blessed to have such wonderful memories of her that I can share with others.” – Alicia
“I don’t think you (or anyone else) know just how much I valued your presence in my life. I remember the day I met you. I was so scared for my interview. I just knew this woman I was meeting would be scary, but you were the opposite. You made me feel comfortable. You were hilarious and honest, just like me. I laughed so hard that day; I went home and told my family you were my new crazy auntie. Little did I know you would really be a source of so much insight for me, and also my son. I am so appreciative of the advice you gave me as a mother. David and I will miss drawing pictures for your office decorations, but we know you are shining bright and making the angels laugh. Your greatness will never be forgotten.” – Felecity
“My fondest memory of Grayce is when she first came to SOPAC as the Volunteer Coordinator. She said to me, “you and I are going to get along very well” when she learned that I was originally from New York and we reminisced about our experiences living there. Thereafter, we discovered that we had a lot in common that was uncanny. I will miss her saying to me that without my encouragement she would be lost, but we both knew that that was not the case. Grayce had a quick wit about her that made you laugh when you wanted to scream and I will forever miss that about her. I will forever miss my Grayce Grace as I fondly always called her.” –Sheila
“Grayce lived a full and fascinating life, and boy did she have stories! Grayce and I sat catty corner, and one of my favorite parts of the day would be when she would share a tidbit about her past, or even something that had happened over the weekend. She had a way of telling stories that was so engaging, funny, and personable, just like she was. I will miss her laughter and I will miss her company. She will forever be in my heart with love and adoration.” – Kiera
“Grayce will remain in my memories one of SOPAC’s most endearing individuals. Her fluency in bridging together patience with understanding to support us in our roles was one of the utmost humanizing experiences for me, especially in a world that expects next to impossibly perfect results with little understanding of the human condition. I believe Grayce made it her job to understand each and every one of our conditions… more intimately than most would at an establishment such as ours. Her loss not just at SOPAC, but in a world where things seem bleak and incorrigible will lastingly be felt across all existence.” – Jessica
“My favorite moment is my first interview. It was my first real job interview and I was so scared, but Grayce always had a way to make you laugh. She took away the fear I had and I really enjoyed it. I knew afterwards I wanted to work at a place with people like her.” – Angelle