KATHLEEN ANN HOWRIGAN - FAIRFIELD - Kathleen Ann Howrigan passed from this life to the next at her home in Fairfield on May 17, 2013. She had spent the previous day serving as a reader at Catholic Mass, taking care of her grandchildren, and preparing for another trip to Massachusetts with her husband to visit relatives. Kathleen, or "Kay," was born in Bayonne, N.J., on Dec. 16, 1931. She was the third child of John and Helen (Gardiner) Speer, both relatively recent immigrants from County Leitrim and County Galway, Ireland. She was predeceased by her twin brothers, Patrick Speer and Robert Speer, and her sister, Elizabeth Speer Lemont. The family moved to Waltham, Mass., where Kathleen matriculated from Waltham High School in 1948. She was granted an early entrance into Newton Wellesley Nursing School at the age of 17. She continued her training at Cornell Hospital in New York City. Following Cornell Hospital, Kathleen was accepted into and graduated from Regis College, where she also worked as nurse-in- residence. She made many lifelong friends at Regis. Her first solo assignment was in the operating room at Boston City Hospital. She then worked for the U.S. Department of State in U.S.A.I.D. as a trainer of nurses in South Vietnam during the Vietnam conflict. She returned to North America and continued her studies at the University of Ottawa in Canada. She finished her Master's Degree in Psychology at Boston College in 1971. She was married to Richard J. Howrigan at St. Mary's Church in Waltham, Mass., on July 2, 1971. Their son, Richard James Howrigan Jr., was born in 1972. They lived in Charlestown, Mass., and then in Winchester, Mass. While raising her son, she taught catechism and earned her real estate broker license. They moved to Fairfield, Vt., in 1983. Kathleen continued working as a broker and eventually opened her own real estate office. She was always active at St. Patrick's parish; she attended daily Mass, often volunteered as a lector at Mass, and coordinated the volunteers for the devotion of Eucharistic Adoration. Kathleen enjoyed the arts and stressed the importance of education and cultural enrichment to her family. She lovingly cared for her grandchildren. She was a voracious reader. She devoted a portion of each day to a daily prayer list. She frequently performed the Catholic form of meditation, commonly known as the Rosary. Kathleen was also known to frequent thrift stores and reveled in liberating previously unrecognized treasures from their shelves. She was understandably proud of her dual Irish and American citizenship's. Survivors include her husband, Richard of Fairfield; their son, Richard "Jim" Howrigan Jr. and his wife, Kathy, of Colchester; and grandsons, Seamus, Kevin and Carsten. She is also survived by her sister-in-law, Marie Speer of Orlando, Fla.; nephews and nieces, Brian Speer and family, John Speer and family, Rob Lemont, Kathy Lemont and family, Julie Lemont and family, Erin Lemont Donato and family, Joe Lemont, Chris Lemont, and Scott Lemont; first cousin, Mary Smith and her son and Kathleen's godson, Michael Gardiner Smith, MD and family; and former brother-in-law, Charles Lemont. Relatives and friends are invited to attend calling hours on Tuesday, May 21, 2013, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Heald Funeral Home, 87 South Main Street, St. Albans. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Wednesday, May 22, 2013, at 11 a.m. at St. Patrick Church, 116 Church Road, Fairfield. The Reverend William P. Giroux will be the celebrant. Interment will follow in the family lot in St. Patrick Cemetery. Private messages of condolence to Kathleen's family are welcome at www.healdfuneralhome.com.
Those planning an expression of sympathy are asked to consider flowers or a donation to the Vermont Right to Life Educational Trust, PO Box 1079, Montpelier, VT 05601.