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Helen P. Cleary


1920 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
Helen P. Cleary Obituary
ORFOLK Dr. Helen P. Cleary of Norfolk, MA passed away peacefully at home November 5, 2016. Born and raised in Brookline, MA, she was the daughter of Paul J. and Helen F. Cleary. She was a graduate of Regis College, Yale University and Harvard with a Ph.D. in Public Health. Helen joined the Marines in 1942 and was stationed at Cherry Point, N.C. She was responsible for decoding the top secret weather forecasts for the pilots on the east coast. She retired as a Lt. Col. in the Marine Corp Reserves. Following the war, she worked for the MA Tuberculosis Health League. It was here that she developed a love for Public Health. She continued her career with numerous health departments. She was Director for the Association for the Blind and finally a Professor of Public Health at UMass Medical School. A woman ahead of her time, she was the first woman selectperson in Norfolk, MA. Belonging to numerous organizations and authoring a text book, she devoted her life to the rights of patients. One of her accomplishments she was most proud of was developing the National Certification for Healthcare Professionals. In retirement, Helen had the opportunity to enjoy her formal gardens, cook with Julia Child and read nonfiction nonstop. Her bigges st joy was providing love, support and fun times to her grand nep hews. They were the loves of her life. Survivors include her niece, Patricia Cleary Higham and husband Barry of Dartmouth; her nephew, Robert Gedraitis of Effingham, NH; beloved grand nephews, Matthew Paul Cleary of Brooklyn, NY, Michael R. Gedraitis of Baltimore, MD, John W. Gedraitis wife Ingrid of Deerfield, NH and Owen C. Higham of Dartmouth; her great-grandniece, Helen Nell Gedraitis; and special neighbors, Lawrence Piccone and Steven Diette. She was predeceased by a brother, Paul G. Cleary and niece, Kathleen Cleary. A Celebration of her life will take place at her home on May 20, 2017 at 1:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, please con sider a donation to the Norfolk Public Library-Gift Fund, 159 Main St., Norfolk, MA 02056. For online tributes please visit: www.rock-funeralhome.com.
Published in The Country Gazette from Nov. 10 to Nov. 25, 2016
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