Anne Agnes Cassidy Regan
Anne Agnes Cassidy Regan, RN, a 60-year resident of New Canaan, died at home on 10 June 2020, surrounded by her children. She was two weeks shy of her 98th birthday.
Mrs. Regan was born on 24 June 1922 in the farming hamlet of Glengesh, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, a border region to the Irish Republic known since the 19th Century as a hotbed of Irish Nationalism. She was one of eight children raised in a tiny house on a subsistence farm, where the horse was the motive power, hurricane lanterns the lighting, the well bucket the source of water, peat the fuel for heat, and the outhouse the place for ablutions.
After lackluster primary schooling under the village schoolmaster in a one-room schoolhouse, Mrs. Regan studied as a boarder at the noted Sisters of Mercy/Mount Lourdes Grammar School in Enniskillen, but was unable to finish there due to lack of funds. She then studied accounting and basic management techniques at a local business college. After short, frustrating periods as a bookkeeper and as a rural postmistress trainee, she followed the advice of an old family friend, Cash Coyle, and entered nursing.
Mrs. Regan's initial training during 1944-47 was at Belfast City Hospital, a premier teaching hospital, in the field of psychiatric nursing. Her first posting was at a tuberculosis sanatarium, operated by British Telecom in the fresh air of Bournemouth, on England's South Coast, for employees afflicted by a disease only then becoming treatable by antibiotics. In later years she often commented how radically chronic care practices had changed over her long professional life, from maximum bedrest to maximum purposeful activity.
Like many Irish immigrants before her, Mrs. Regan gravitated to London, working at the original Hackney Hospital in London's East End, then a dodgy area. She pursued further nursing studies in obstetrics and public health, and received her certification as a Registered Nurse at the end of 1953. It was during these years that she met her husband, Thomas Regan, after being prevailed upon by several of her fellow nursing "sisters" to attend a Saturday night dance. Resolving that first evening to marry her, Mr. Regan was an ardent suitor.
The couple agreed that they would emigrate to North America – after briefly considering Australia – and work to get established, meanwhile living apart during their engagement. Mr. Regan arrived in Quebec on the Canbarra (Southampton), in June 1953, with his betrothed following on the Sydney (Liverpool) in September. Shifting their base to Toronto, Mrs. Regan went on staff at Sunnybrook Hospital, where she was eventually to be followed by an immigrant niece with an appointment as a clinical professor of oncology. The couple married in October 1955.
A shift across the border to Detroit proved frustrating: Mrs. Regan enjoyed her work at the Henry Ford Hospital, but her husband lost his job as a tool-and-die modeler when Studebaker Motors went into receivership. The silver lining came in the form of a move to Stamford, Connecticut where a sister and brother-in-law of Mrs. Regan had entered the construction business.
A first house in Springdale followed a set of twins (Richard Anthony and Stephen Patrick) in November 1956, succeeded in turn by another set (Mary Anne and Thomas Gerard) in December 1957. Single children (Peter Damien, Andrew Declan, Mark John) came in 1959-62, by which time the family had moved to New Canaan, where her husband built a house on a piece of land on South Main Street. The family later moved to Oak Street, with all the children proud products of the New Canaan school system.
After several years focused on raising her children, Mrs. Regan resumed her nursing career at Silver Hill Hospital. In all, she spent 30 years at that noted institution, working many double shifts and only retiring in 2000 – and then despite management entreaties to remain in-harness.
In her retirement, Mrs. Regan and husband spoiled the grandchildren, meanwhile enjoying the progress of their own progeny. For the great preponderance of this period she enjoyed excellent health, closely monitored by her children, especially Mary and Mark. She was an incorrigible Jeopardy and crossword fanatic, could recite from memory all manner of classic poetry, and late in life developed avid interests in the NFL, cosmology, Irish professional golfers, and the US financial markets.
Mrs. Regan was predeceased by her husband and by son Stephen. A sister, Veronica Cassidy Doherty, lives in Belfast. Beyond her own children, Mrs. Regan is survived by six grandchildren: Cassidy Amanda, Brenna Evelyn, Connor Richard, Sean Connelly, Dylan Thomas, and Kathryn Anne Regan. Nieces, nephews, and first cousins innumerable enjoy successful lives in Australia, Canada, the UK, the US, and the Republic of Ireland.
A memorial gathering is planned for the fall.
The Regan Family would like to thank the Visiting Nurse and Hospice of Fairfield County, as well as the Waveny Care Network, for their compassionate assistance.
To leave online condolences please visit www.hoytfuneralhome.com