School 14

Henry Charles Granison

April 17, 1962 ~ November 5, 2022 (age 60) 60 Years Old



Obituary of Henry Charles Granison


To everything there is a season, and this is the season in which Henry Charles Granison, 60, must say “good-bye.”   He died of cancer November 5, 2022, surrounded by his heartbroken family. 


Henry was born in Jersey City, NJ on April 17, 1962 to parents Henry Clay Granison and Ernestine Pinkney Granison, brother Keith Granison and sister Dr. Karen Granison Nunez.  His dad and brother predeceased Henry, or, as he was known to his family of origin, “Charles.”


Henry’s intellectual talents were obvious early on, and he worked hard to excel in school.  While Henry’s story could be told exclusively with the lens of talent and hard work, he never framed it that way.  He credited his parents with advocating to get him into better public schools.   Henry said getting into better schools let him be a nerd instead of having to be street smart.  Henry also gave credit to his dad’s union for providing a substantial scholarship for college, which Henry used at Harvard College.   Henry appreciated affirmative action policies and financial aid policies at both Harvard and Cornell Law School, which afforded him opportunities to use his intellect and apply his work ethic.  Henry knew that talent could be found anywhere and that nurturing that talent needed intention and a generous spirit from families, communities, schools and the government; he was an example of that.  


While at Cornell Law School, Henry met his love, best friend, and wife of 34 years, Mary Beth Grant.  He was MB’s biggest cheerleader, both in her career and her hobbies.  Together they raised their daughters Charlotte and Samantha Granison.  Family life was top priority for Henry.  Whether it was singing and reading to toddlers, attending school programs and sporting events, or getting excited about their post-secondary educational pursuits, Henry swelled with pride and joy whenever he was with his girls or talked (read: bragged!) about them.  He loved to hear their thoughts about social and racial justice, pop culture and their hobbies.  He also loved their friends and continued to visit with them after his daughters left home.  


Henry’s career was varied and interesting.  He had a particular passion for figuring out how to recruit students of color to law school and new attorneys of color to law firms to improve the diversity, equity and inclusion of the profession.  He worked on these things through both volunteer and professional channels throughout his life.


Henry practiced law in Boston and Minneapolis before moving back to Ithaca in 1999 to join Cornell Law School’s admissions team.  Additionally, he taught a paralegal class at Tompkins Cortland Community College as an adjunct professor.  After many years at Cornell, Henry briefly joined Pace Law School’s admission team in Westchester, NY, but he and Mary Beth were not well suited for a long-distance marriage.  Henry moved home to Ithaca and semi-retired to continue his teaching, but to also engage in volunteer opportunities, such as at the public library.  Volunteering at the library made so much sense for a man who spent hours in the library as a child, worked at the library in college, and loved taking his children to the library for story hour and exploring books.  Henry came out of semi-retirement to run for elected office, directly in response to the disastrous presidential election of 2016.  


Henry was elected a Tompkins County Legislator in 2017 and again in 2021, a role in which he served until shortly before his death. So many constituents and colleagues have reached out to Henry to thank him for his leadership, strong ethical compass, compassionate communication during the height of the COVID pandemic, and clear desire to help everyone in the community, particularly those who were the most disenfranchised. Henry’s love of politics and civic engagement was obvious to anyone who observed him in his legislative role or who asked him his opinions about the state of our nation.  He researched issues carefully and remained true to his convictions, never backing down even if his opinion was unpopular. 


It was also obvious that Henry LOVED the Mets; it was easy to spot him in a very loud blue and orange Mets jacket, proudly worn whether they were winning or losing.  What a great summer with the Mets in first place for so long and Henry and MB cheering them on.  It wouldn’t have mattered if they were in last place, though: Henry loved them even when they choked at the end of the season.  


Perhaps more surprising was Henry’s love of sunsets, musical theater, pop culture and little children.  He would stop mid-sentence to comment about a pretty sunset.  He listened to favorite soundtracks on repeat, singing softly to the best songs.  He referred to himself as “Mr. Pop Culture,” keeping up with music, movies and celebrity gossip.  And, over the years he pulled many children to safety while parents were distracted and never even noticed his heroics! But, that’s who Henry was: the guy who did the right thing even if no one was watching and even if he never got credit.  


In addition to his mom, sister, wife and children, Henry is survived by Charlotte’s partner Sean Carlson, mother-in-law Saralyn Ingram, brothers-in-law Tom Grant, Dr. John Grant and Guy Daynes, sisters-in-law Katie Grant Daynes and Ya-Huei Chen, nephews Keith Granison and Jack Daynes, nieces Jessica Nunez and Megan Daynes, and many cousins, aunts, uncles, and friends.   In addition to his dad and brother, Henry is predeceased by his father-in-law Bob Grant, mother-in-law Kathleen Waldron Grant and many cousins, aunts, uncles, and friends.


Calling hours will be 4:00 - 6:00 p.m. on Friday, November 11, 2022, at Bangs Funeral Home.  A funeral will be held at St. Catherine of Siena at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, November 12, 2022, followed by a lunch in the parish center.  Henry was not formal, so do not feel like you need to dress up.  Indeed, if you have Mets swag, this would be a good opportunity to wear it proudly.  


In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, New York Abortion Access Fund, the Greater Ithaca Activity Center, the Cancer Resource Center, Finger Lakes Independence Center, or a charity of your choice. 

Online Condolence can be left at

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November 11, 2022

4:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Bangs Funeral Home
209 W. Green Street
Ithaca, NY 14850

Funeral Service
November 12, 2022

11:00 AM
St. Catherine Of Siena
302 St Catherines Circle
Ithaca, NY 14850


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