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Kathleen B. McCahan

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If there was one thing that characterized her life, it was her devotion to her children and grandchildren. Everything that grandmothers do filled her repertoire. Playing games, reading books, cooking their favorite meals, reciting the special stories that she shared with each one. Her love was manifest in each birthday and Christmas present to be sure, but also in every ride she gave, soccer game she attended and project she undertook with them. Kay was born Kathleen Marshall Baird on October 25, 1936. The oldest of three sisters, she grew up in Scarsdale, NY. Following completion of her degree in religious studies at Mt. Holyoke College, she went to work for the Fund for Advancement in Education in New York City. In 1959 she married John McCahan and moved to Philadelphia where her new husband was entering medical school. In 1976, after several intervening moves, the family came to Weston. Kay became immediately involved in the school system. Other organizations with which she spent considerable time included the League of Women Voters in studying the implementation of chapter 766 - the right of each child to an appropriate education - and the Human Relations Service where she served on the board. In the mid-80s she headed a committee on the disposition of unused school buildings. As her children were graduating from the schools, her interests shifted to land use and conservation. She was the first conservation administrator when the town established that position. In the late 90s, she chaired the Open Space and Recreation Planning Committee that was appointed to inventory remaining large parcels of undeveloped land. Her subsequent interest and involvement in the Case Estates (as Chair of the Case Estates Review Committee), in the Weston Land Trust and in Highland Meadows were direct consequences of her work in land use and conservation. It was also in the late 90s that the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority moved to build a holding tank in place of the Weston Reservoir. She served as one of the town's representatives to the MWRA's planning committee that considered, among other things, the future management of the existing reservoir. She organized the volunteer Mutt Mitt program that has kept the property attractive for both the dogs and people who walk there. Her love of things that grow on the land was manifest in her work with the Weston Garden Club and her time as a board member at the New England Wild Flower Society. Flower arranging, cutting greens, planting bulbs, these were all engaged her. Native species and natural habitats were topics that were second nature to her. She knew the Weston wetlands and all of the out-of-the-way places that wildflowers grew. In January 2013, she was among the recipients of the J. Ward Carter Civic Awards. Kay's initial breast cancer diagnosis was made in 1985, each recurrence taken as it came, her primary interest being the enjoyment of the people around her. She died peacefully on March 7, 2013 and leaves, along with her husband, her children, Susan and husband Cliff Lansil, John and wife Margaret, and Christopher and wife Tara Skipper. Also five grandchildren, Nate Lansil; Craig, Matthew and Jack McCahan; and Dinah McCahan. A memorial service will be held at the First Parish Church in Weston, 349 Boston Post Road, on Saturday, March 30, 2013 at 10:00 am. Donations in lieu of flowers may be made to the Human Relations Service, Inc. 11 Chapel Place, Wellesley Hills, MA 02481 or the New England Wild Flower Society, 180 Hemenway Road, Framingham, MA 01701.

Published in The Wayland Town Crier from Mar. 19 to Mar. 26, 2013
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