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CATHY (FILLMANN) NEARY - COLCHESTER - On Sunday, April 27, 2014, as the early dawn broke the morning sky, Cathy (Fillmann) Neary, 54, of Colchester, passed away peacefully, leaving the loving arms of her family for the healing arms of the Lord. The person she was throughout her life made her a tenacious and formidable opponent to the disease during her 11year battle with breast cancer. Cathy was born in Cheverly, Md., on Nov. 22, 1959, the daughter of George and Louise Fillmann. Her early years were spent in Maryland, until the family moved to Grand Isle, Vt., in 1969. Cathy graduated from South Burlington High School in 1977, and was crowned queen of the prom that year. After high school she worked as a hair dresser, having received her certificate from O'Brien's School of Cosmetology. She then worked for nearly 12 years at McAuliffe Office Products, beginning as an associate on the retail floor, but soon became secretary to the manager of the service department, where she met Jim. She and Jim were married Aug. 31, 1985, and have lived in Colchester throughout their nearly 29 years together. After leaving McAuliffe, she began working part time, to allow more time with her children. She was with Oral Surgery Associates for many years, where she made special friends and enjoyed lots of laughs with them. She had to leave OSA during her first battle with cancer in 2003, after which she had nearly eight years of remission. In 2004, Cathy was an original member of the Dragonheart breast cancer paddling team. In May of 2005, she began working for the Town of Colchester in the Parks and Recreation Department as Administrative Secretary, which she enjoyed very much. She resigned in May 2012, while undergoing treatments for a recurrence. In January 2013, she was rehired by the Town in the Planning and Zoning Department, as well as a "sub" at the Burnham Library, where, as always, her joyful spirit and positive attitude could brighten everyone's day. Cathy and Jim celebrated their 25th anniversary in Mystic, Conn., and on a whim, they renewed their vows at St. Patrick's Church. Throughout her adult life she had volunteered at many functions for her children, and for various charities to give back and pay forward. Cathy loved the ocean, where she and her family enjoyed numerous great times together. The ocean soothed her soul and boosted her spirit. Words can't express how important her family was to her, and how very proud she was of her two children, Tim and Krista. She was constantly showing them love, giving them encouragement and hugs - lots and lots of hugs. Attending any of their events, be it cross country, track, soccer or swim meets. She modeled for them enduring strength, compassion and living joyfully - three essential things for a good life for themselves and others around them. She never let negative thoughts linger in her mind. As she put it, "I release them and let them go." She believed the least important word was "Me" and lived that daily by always putting others ahead of her. She loved being outdoors, immensely enjoying the simple things like working with flowers in her gardens, walking her companion Baylea, watching the sun set, feeding the birds, or taking rides with her husband in their little red Miata convertible. Cathy's constant positive attitude throughout her entire life was remarkable, and everyone saw in her what was possible with an optimistic and grateful approach to life. At any gathering, she was a bright and cheerful joy to have in your presence. Children were naturally drawn to her. You would find her in her flip flops or sandals from spring until the first snowflake fell. She is sorely missed now and will be forever. If we could get just one more hug... Cathy leaves behind her dear and loving husband, Jim; her two wonderful children, son, Tim of Fraser, Colo., and daughter, Krista; parents, George and Louise Fillmann; sister, Denise Cincotta and husband, John, and their son, Michael; special aunt, June Green; uncle, Melvin; sister-in-law, Lisa (Neary) Leduc and husband, Patrick, and their daughters, Rachael and Faith; sister-in-law, Cheryl (Neary) Allis and husband, Bill, and their two children, Bill (children, Maddy, Erik and Josh), and Beth Tomkowicz and husband, Gabe; brother-in-law, Jeff Neary and his son, Jordan; brother-in-law, Mike Neary and wife, Meredith; brother-in-law, Kevin Neary; childhood friend, Laura Hunter; and many loving cousins. We want to thank Dr. Paul Unger and his staff at Champlain Valley Hematology Oncology for 11 years of quality care; her surgeon, Dr. Seth Harlow; and Radiologist, Dr. Deb Rubin. A special thank you to Dr. Patty O'Brien for her encouragement and help over the years. Special thanks also to Tony, and the Interventional Radiology team, who over these past eight months became like friends to her. To the employees of the Town of Colchester and Burnham Library, thank you for your wonderful generosity and friendship. And finally, thank you to the staff at Fletcher Allen, McClure 4, ICU, who's caring and compassionate work helped us get through those final days. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Saturday, May 3, 2014, at 10:30 a.m. at Holy Cross Parish in Colchester. Interment will be held following the Mass at Resurrection Park in South Burlington. Visiting hours will be held on Friday from 4 to 7 p.m. in the Ready Funeral & Cremation Service South Chapel, 261 Shelburne Rd., Burlington. To send online condolences, please visit In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Cathy's name to Camp Ta-Kum-Ta; Dragonheart VT; or any that supports cancer survivors.

Published in The Burlington Free Press from Apr. 29 to Apr. 30, 2014
bullet Breast Cancer
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