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TERESA CONNELY FITTS

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TERESA CONNELY FITTS Obituary
FITTS, Dr. Teresa Connelly Of South Hadley, MA. died on July 2 after living a full and vibrant life. Teresa was diagnosed with thymic carcinoma in 2013 when she was training for the Boston Marathon as a member of the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team. In addition to being a passionate advocate for physical activity and exercise, Teresa was a cherished member of the Suzuki Violin Community, appreciating every small success that is achieved and nurtured with love. Teresa was also a daily communicant, committed Roman Catholic, and member of the Newman Catholic Center in Amherst. Teresa was born November 12, 1959, in Brighton, Massachusetts, and lived with her family in Belmont until graduation from Belmont High School in 1977. In 1978 Teresa joined St. Scholastica Priory in Still River and later Petersham, MA, taking the name Sr. Teresita Maria. Teresa loved the Rule of St. Benedict and learned to love the manual labor intrinsic in the lifestyle of a contemplative nun. Teresa contributed to the success of the Priory Bakery which supported the work of the nuns until 1990. In 1989, Teresa left the community and moved to Amherst, MA. In 1990, she met Jim Fitts, whom she married in 1997. Teresa felt blessed to be welcomed into the Fitts clan with such genuine kindness. In 1998, Teresa graduated from Springfield College with a Masters in Sport Management, and in 1999 with a Doctorate in Sport Psychology. The Humanics philosophy of Springfield College remained an important part of Teresa's life. In 1999, Teresa was hired full-time at Westfield State University to teach Exercise Science, which she did with great dedication until her illness in 2013. Teresa became a Fellow in the American College of Sports Medicine in 2011. Dr. Fitts loved teaching, and loved the Westfield State students, and was deeply moved by their unwavering support during her cancer journey. Above anything else, however, Teresa was a mother. Teresa's most meaningful moments were with her family. Her twin daughters, Mary and Sarah, were her greatest joy. Teresa was predeceased by her father Thomas J. Connelly of Belmont, and is survived by her mother Ann Maureen Connelly, also of Belmont. In addition to Jim, Mary, and Sarah Fitts of South Hadley, she leaves six loving siblings, Rear Admiral Thomas J. Connelly and his wife Darlene of Fairfax, VA, Mary C. Connelly of Natick, MA, Rev. Fr. Peter Connelly OSB and Abbot Xavier Connelly OSB of Still River MA, Joan Conway and her husband Robert of Belmont, MA. and Bernardine Connelly Clark and her husband Mark of Fairfax.VA. Teresa was also sister-in-law to Jim's seven sisters, their husbands, and wonderful families. She was the beloved aunt of Kate Connelly Wade and her husband Ken of Weston, Massachusetts, Julianna Stockton and her husband Adam of Westport, CT, Marie Connelly of Somerville, MA, Annie Conway of Nashua, NH, and Jack, Tess, Peter, and Antonia Clark of Fairfax, VA. She was the great aunt of Emily and Thomas Wade of Weston, MA and Arthur and Eleanor Stockton of Westport, CT. Teresa also leaves a Village of dear and irreplaceable friends who walked (and ran) with her through her life. Visiting hours will take place at Douglass Funeral Home, 87 North Pleasant St., Amherst, MA. 01002 on Wednesday, July 6 from 4-7 pm. A Mass of Christian Burial will take place at the Newman Catholic Center, 472 North Pleasant St., Amherst, MA at 10am on Thursday, July 7. A reception at the Newman Catholic Center will follow the burial in North Cemetery, 900 East Pleasant Street, Amherst, MA. A Memorial Mass will also be offered at Saint Joseph Church, 130 Common Street, Belmont, MA. on Tuesday, August 2, 2016 at 10:00 am. Memorial donations in memory of Teresa may be made to Saint Benedict Abbey, P.O.Box 67, Still River, MA. 01467 (www.abbey.org), Saint Scholastica Priory, 271 N. Main St., Petersham, MA. 01366 (www.stscholasticapriory.org); or Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, P.O. Box 849168, Boston, MA. 02284-9168. (www.dana-farber.org)
Published in The Boston Globe on July 6, 2016
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