- Mary Isabel (O'Connor) Lawry (^# KB)
MARY ISABEL (O’CONNOR) LAWRYFrom Mary Catherine about her motherMy earliest memories are of my Mother always on a roll and going full force ahead. She always had a project going, whether it was a new suit for my father, new wallpaper for the living room, or a new paint job on the bedroom. One of her most favorite things to do was to browse the aisles of The Bargain Center in downtown Quincy . (I did not inherit this gene but my daughter, Abby, has. It must skip a generation). She was a brave entertainer and she often hosted parties, large and small, at our house in Westfield . Even after she and my Dad moved into a very small one bedroom house she had a dinner party one night with forty people. She loved to bake bread and we were lucky to come home often to the sweet smell of the dough in process. She loved her family more than anything and was very territorial and protective of all of us. She was so proud when her younger brother returned to school while an adult and became a teacher. She bragged for years about her other brother Tom who became head of the Massachusetts Teachers’ Certification Department. She took on non family members and demonstrated the same protectiveness and concern towards them also. (Once I was rear ended by a man traveling with his family on his way to try and obtain his teacher’s certification. The fact that this guy, driving fast and anxious to get to Westfield State to work on his problem, smashed into our car was not a concern. She called her brother Tom and tried to smooth the way for this man’s certification process.) People in our town are still talking about her outrage when a friend, Jim Dowd, was passed over for Superintendent of Schools in Westfield . She knew he was the best candidate and lobbied all City officials to get Jim the job. When he did not, she was pretty upset.My mother was, as I have indicated, very brave. She enrolled as a freshman at Westfield State College in the late fifti
- O'Connor and related Family Stories (503 KB)
Mackie, Kinch, Whelan, Heron/Ahearn, Dalton, MacDonald, McCarthy, O'Connor, O'Hara and others[Minor editing 3/7/99]Since the early Seventies when I first saw the reprint of Meacham's 1880 Atlas I have been working on the story of my maternal ancestors, most of who arrived on PEI in the early 1800's; some first in Tryon, Lot 28 and many "up West," but most of them finally settled in or near Kildare, Lot 3, Prince Edward Island (PEI), Canada. At first I called it a "genealogy" but as I became more familiar with what that term meant it became clear that using true genea¬logi¬cal standards would limit the story to types of proof that would require leaving out inter¬est¬ing parts that seemed clearly true but were based on circumstantial evidence. Accordingly, I'll call it a "family history story" and try to make reasonable arguments to justify any parts for which I don't have original source documentation. I hope readers will not be too critical of some of my broader leaps of faith.
- PEI ANCESTORS 11.11.2010 One of the eight (47 KB)
Mackie, Kinch, Whelan, Heron/Ahearn, Dalton, MacDonald, McCarthy, O'Connor, O'Hara and othersSince the early Seventies when I first saw the reprint of Meacham's 1880 Atlas I have been working on the story of my maternal ancestors, most of who arrived on PEI in the early 1800's; some first in Tryon, Lot 28 and many "up West," but most of them finally settled in or near Kildare, Lot 3, Prince Edward Island (PEI), Canada. At first I called it a "genealogy" but as I became more familiar with what that term meant it became clear that using true genea¬logi¬cal standards would limit the story to types of proof that would require leaving out inter¬est¬ing parts that seemed clearly true but were based on circumstantial evidence. Accordingly, I'll call it a "family history story" and try to make reasonable arguments to justify any parts for which I don't have original source documentation. I hope readers will not be too critical of some of my broader leaps of faith.
- Karen's eulogy of Eleanor at her funeral. (6 KB)
This is the remembrance of Eleanor given by her niece Karen O’Connor at her funeral Mass at St Mary’s Church in Randolph, MA on Saturday May 12, 2001ELEANOR ELISABETH O'CONNORJANUARY 25, 1922 - MAY 9, 2001Today we come together to honor and remember Eleanor's life.The irony is that she washumble and would feel self-conscious about being the center of attention.She would wantto change the focus from her to us.But you can't do that today, El.We are here tocelebrate your life!You touched us all so much.Elisabeth Kubler Ross wrote "people are like stained glass windows, they sparkle andshine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed intheir light from within." This past year has been difficult for Eleanor physically, and thelast few weeks were as she described "a battlefield." Through it all, her light from withinshined through.She showed her dignity, humor, and determination.That's also the wayshe lived her life.Eleanor had a special quality that drew people to her- a fiend to so many.Her genuinecaring and interest in people made her many friends during all stages of her life and in allareas of the world.She kept in touch.Even during her last few hours at the hospital, sheformed a new friendship with the pastoral minister, Mary.They shared prayers andlaughter.In the end Eleanor promised to pray for Mary's son.Eleanor instilled a sense ofconfidence and made us believe in ourselves.She was always there in a time of need for afamily member or friend- from letting someone live with her, giving financial aid, takingcare of our children or our pets, nursing someone to health, or simply giving anencouraging word.Auntie El would be there!Kerry O'Connor, one of Eleanor's grandnieces, gives us a good example of this when she said, ' Eleanor was so wonderfulto Dave and me when we were kids.She used to pick us up on the weekends and makesure we got to CCD Saturday mornings.She made sure we had a strong sense of faith,family and self " Fiona O'Connor, a niece, told how Eleanor seemed always to be there forher during a crisis.When Fiona needed a place to five and later when she needed helpwhen her mother died in California, Eleanor came to the rescue!When Eleanor was muchyounger, she left a high paying job in Chicago to help care for her mother who was dyingof cancer.She moved to Westfield to help take care of her sister Mary when she wasdying.We all have, "Auntie El to the rescue" stories!Eleanor gave freely of herself anddid not expect anything for her good deeds.Eleanor was a giver of advice, and she expected you to follow it.Sometimes we didn't,but she loved us anyway.Recently she gave me some business advice that I didn't follow.Her comment was, "Do I have to go and run that business for you?" This was right beforeshe was going into the hospital!A few days ago, I heard my cousin Cathy lament toanother relative Diane, "Who are we going to call for advice now?" Wisely Diane repliedthat we, are just going to have to think about the advice Eleanor would have given us.Shehad a way of seeing things clearly and her advice was solid.Eleanor was a dignified woman who handled occasions with grace. Just a few weeks ago herniece, Mary took Eleanor to Whaler’s Wharf in Provincetown to see my husband’sproject.They had a wonderful lunch On that delightful Cape Cod spring day, of course,there was the usual fight with Eleanor about who would pay the check.The next day abeautiful handwritten note arrived from Eleanor, thanking Bruce for the day and for beingsuch a special part of her life.Many of us have received such thoughtful notes throughoutthe years.She was a class act!Eleanor was not a saint, and she would not want to be thought of as one.But as I talkedto relatives and friends these last few days, I began to think that maybe she should be!Eleanor was always ready for a good time and an adventure. One of her nieces, Pat, saidrecently that she used to be late for everything but never missed anything important.Quitea few years ago, I took Eleanor for a sail on a small sunfish.Even at the beach, she was asophisticated dresser in her pumps and suit.We tipped over immediately and had to besaved by a passerby.Later Eleanor draped her nylons and ruined pumps over the deck ofmy porch where they remained for the duration of the summer.Always with Eleanor therewas humor and laughter.Right to the end she was joking with the doctors and the nurses.During this last hospital stay, many staff members stopped by to say hello to her becausethey remembered her from her visit in September. [She had had two large melanoma removedfrom her lower leg then.]Family was very important to her.Auntie El was a " second mother " to so many of us.And each of us had a special relationship with her.She always wanted to hear about ourescapades and our dreams.Eleanor enjoyed our accomplishments and helped us throughour disappointments.She was the hub of our family, the matriarch, and the connection thatlet us stay in touch with each other's busy lives.Lately her chair and telephone were hercommand central.[She was recuperating from the Melanoma operation which required that herleg be wrapped tightly every day because lymph nodes had been removed. Karen and Mary hadpurchased a lift chair which helped her get up and down.] How did she keep track of so manypeople, so many telephone numbers and so many birthdates?Not only did she keep us in touchwith the present family situation, Eleanor also taught us about our family tradition andheritage-just who was related to whom.She had a remarkable memory. Just recently shecompiled a story about her mother that her niece, Mary, is typing for the family.At the end, Eleanor was at peace with her life and her death.She was prepared for hernext journey and stated this.As Eleanor said during her final hours, " I will miss you all,but you will miss me more." As usual she was right.With Eleanor's death, a gap hasbeen created in so many lives.We have to hold on to her memories and lessons to help fillit. It's been such a privilege to know and love her.You were loved so dearly, Eleanor. May you rest in peace.