Stonington - Helen F. (Kelleher) Cavanaugh, wife of James O. Cavanaugh, of Crestwood Lane, Pawcatuck, passed away at her home on Thursday, July 10, 2014, after a courageous thirteen year battle with dementia.
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Helen was born to Daniel and Mary Kelleher in the family home at 36 William St. in Pawcatuck. She graduated from St. Michael's Parochial School in 1951, Stonington High School in 1955 and Katherine Gibbs Secretarial School in Providence in 1957. After graduation, she was employed at Electric Boat in Groton until her first child was born. Helen then devoted her time exclusively to her family.
When her sons were in school, Helen's favorite activity was volunteering in the libraries of West Broad Street Elementary School and Pawcatuck Junior High School. During the summer months, Helen enjoyed fishing and crabbing, as well as tending to a very large vegetable garden. She would give much of the produce to her extended family, neighbors and friends. For many years, Helen also gave much of her time to the care of family members, both young and old.
Helen also had a keen interest in athletics which kept her busy throughout the year. She was proud to say that for 20 years, she never missed a ballgame her sons played in whether it was soccer, football, basketball or baseball. Helen also enjoyed following her favorite college teams: Notre Dame Football, Syracuse men's Basketball and UConn Women's Basketball.
Helen was proud of her Irish heritage. In 1994, Helen visited the two towns in County Kerry where her parents' ancestors lived. The 15 day trip to Ireland was a highlight of her life.
Along with Jim, her husband of 55 years, Helen is survived by her two sons, Michael and his wife, Diane, of Scarborough, N.Y. and Timothy and his wife, Marisa, of Lansdale, Pa.; as well as five granddaughters, Meredith, Tessa, Catherine, and twins, Sarah and Julia. In addition, Helen leaves her brother, D. William Kelleher of Norwich; and many nieces and nephews, especially Kathleen Franklin of Seattle, Wash. and Sally Ravenelle of Pawcatuck.
Helen was predeceased by two sisters, Mary Stillman of Pawcatuck and Grace Collins of New Jersey.
Visiting hours will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday, at Gaffney-Dolan Funeral Home, 59 Spruce St., Westerly. Funeral mass and burial at St. Michael's Cemetery in Pawcatuck will be private and held at the convenience of her family.
For online condolences, please visit www.gaffneydolanfuneralhome.com.
Contributions may be made to St. Michael's Capital Campaign, 60 Liberty St., Pawcatuck, CT 06379, in Helen's memory.
Gaffney-Dolan Funeral Home
59 Spruce St. Westerly, RI 02891
Published in The Day on July 12, 2014