Ocean Beach 07

Donald Burr Gratz

March 30, 2022


Donald Burr Gratz, Don, long-time resident and member of the community of Needham, passed away on Mar 30, 2022 at the age of 72 after a courageous 5 year battle with Parkinson’s Disease. Don was an educator, musician and music lover, a daily runner, and an avid reader who never had enough time to read (except during his family vacations on Martha’s Vineyard). He was a loving husband, father, brother, grandfather, uncle, and friend.

Don grew up in Oneonta, NY and was a graduate of Wesleyan University, received his M.Ed. from Harvard University, and his Ph.D. from the Lynch School of Education at Boston College. Don had an extensive and distinguished career in education serving before his retirement as Professor, Chair of the Education Department, and Director of Master’s in Education Program at Curry College in Milton, MA. He previously served as Interim Development and Alumni Relations Director at Framingham State College, Director of National School Reform at the Community Training and Assistance Center (which he helped to found in the 1980’s), and Dean of Continuing Education at Quincy College. He was widely published on issues of school improvement, student assessment, and performance-based compensation, and his book The Peril and Promise of Performance Pay: Making Education Compensation Work is regularly used in administrator preparation programs. B.A., Ed.M., Ph.D.

His community and civic involvements included serving for ten years as a member of the Needham, MA school committee—two terms each as Vice Chair and Chair, as a member of the Board of Governors for Quincy College, and as Vice Chair of The Education Cooperative, serving 19 communities south and west of Boston. Don was also active in his hometown of Needham as a Town Meeting Member, a member of the Needham Exchange Club, and as part of the Democratic Town Committee. Don engaged in community development initiatives in the Boston area, serving on a variety of boards such as the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation, South Shore Welfare Advisory Board, and Community Action for Greater Middletown.

Don is lovingly remembered by his wife, Frances (Wheeler) Gratz, his daughters Jennifer Gratz Owens and her husband David of Framingham and Julia Lindsay Gratz of Austin TX, and his grandsons Connor and Frederick. He is also remembered by his brother David Gratz and his wife Linda, his sister Kerry Birnbaum, his sister-in-law Pamela Collins and several nieces and nephews. Visiting hours will be on Fri Apr 8 from 4-7 PM in the Eaton Funeral Home 1351 Highland Ave Needham. A memorial service to celebrate Don’s life will be held on Sat Apr 9 at 1:00 at the Wellesley Village Church, 2 Central Street, Wellesley. Relatives and friends are kindly invited to both.

In lieu of flowers, a donation in Don’s name to the BIDMC’s Parkinson’s Disease & Movement Disorders Center, 330 Brookline Ave, Boston, MA or the JF&CS Charlotte & Richard Okonow Parkinson’s Family Support, 1430 Main St, Waltham, MA would be greatly appreciated.



To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Donald, please visit our floral store.


April 8, 2022

4:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Eaton Funeral Home
1351 Highland Avenue
Needham, MA 02492

A Memorial Service and Celebration of Life
April 9, 2022

1:00 PM
Wellesley Village Church
2 Central St.
Wellesley, MA 02482


BIDMC’s Parkinson’s Disease & Movement Disorders Center
330 Brookline Ave, Boston MA 02115

JF&CS Charlotte & Richard Okonow Parkinson’s Family Support
1430 Main Street, Waltham MA 02451

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