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There are a few people in the world who make everyone around them better. 

Russell Graddy was such a person.

If you are a child, grandchild, great-grandchild, great-great-grandchild, niece, nephew or neighbor of his, you know that. If you’ve eaten at Mr. G’s you know that, because you can taste the love and care that went into every bite. If you’re one on the thousands of travelers who were drawn to Paterson to have a meal at Mr. G’s, you know that. If you have benefited from his outspoken support of affordable housing and economic development in needy neighborhoods, you know that. If you are a food critic whose rave review of Mr. Gs cooking was easier to write than your name, you know that. If you are one of the many that had a brush with the law who was hired by Mr. G for a chance at a new start, you know that If were in the neighborhood whose school years were elevated by food like his you grew up on, you know that. If you are a person of modest means who found success emulating the example of a 90-ish Black man who became a self-made, world-famous food luminary, you know that. If you’re a timid cook who discovered the joy of creative cooking through one of his trial by fire in the kitchen, you know that. 

Mr. G always had a smile and a plate of love. Mr. G was a role model and a joyous force who changed lives for the better. One who made food that made people smile. Because that is what made him smile.