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Helen Cavanaugh


1928 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
Helen Cavanaugh Obituary
Helen F. Cavanaugh, 90

WORCESTER - Helen Cavanaugh, who was compassionate, whimsical, and an artist by nature, entered eternal life on December 1, 2018, where she joined two children of her children, six siblings, her parents Mary and Patrick Fennessy, and many nieces, nephews, in-laws, cousins and friends. Helen was 90 years old. She was a graduate of Roslindale High School and Massachusetts College of Art.

Helen was born to draw, paint, sculpt and otherwise radiate the majesty of the world through an imagination filled with wonder and awe. Her father, a carpenter from Waterford, Ireland, nurtured Helen's art and supplied her with lots of material to use in transforming her vision into creations that offered glimpses of nature's nobility. After college, Helen took her talents into the Worcester public school system where she encouraged a generation of children to fall in love with the splendor of a blazing sunset and the beauty of a cloudless blue sky. She was always dazzled by what crayons could capture.

Helen's mother, a farmer's daughter from County Cork, Ireland, taught Helen the importance of frugality while creating a home filled with fresh Irish bread, endless cups of tea, countless potato recipes and numerous ways to recycle yesterday's goods. Under Helen's skillful hand, used bread bags became winter boot liners, old pantyhose became window caulking, random socks turned into puppets, and jar lids doubled as Christmas ornaments. Helen came from the "just in case" generation where nothing was ever thrown away. When asked why she had 20 ceramic tea pot covers, without any corresponding tea pots, in an old plastic bag wedged in a cabinet, Helen responded, "I'm saving them just in case."

The source of Helen's deepest joy stemmed from nurturing her family. While her husband labored as an elementary school principal and part-time librarian, Helen, when she was not working as an art teacher, was busy raising her kids. Despite living in a house jammed with children, pets, stray animals of every stripe, and the occasional wayward wanderer, Helen never lost her calm or her belief in the goodness of people, no matter what they did. Her practicality was rich in Gospel truths. She quoted the Bible as frequently as she rang the bell for supper. Among Helen's favorite rules to live by were "always be honest; forgive and forget; keep your promises; be kind; count your blessings; and, most importantly, love one another deeply from the heart."

Helen's irrepressible spirit lives on in her beloved husband of 63 years, Raymond Cavanaugh, her children: Maureen (and daughter Katherine Amoresano); James; Sheila (and husband Albert Choy, children Thomas, Andrew, Kathleen, and Michele); Deirdre, Neil (and wife Nancy, children Sarah, Grace, Kevin, and Megan); and Kathleen (and children Erin, Caroline, and Elizabeth); her sister, Kathleen McGill, and many in-laws, nieces, nephews, friends and family too numerous to list but not forgotten. Two children, Brian and baby Kathleen, have been awaiting Helen in heaven.

Calling hours at Athy Memorial Home, 111 Lancaster St. in Worcester are Friday, December 7, from 5 to 8 p.m. The funeral will be held on Saturday, December 8, with a Mass at 10:30 a.m. at Our Lady of the Angels Parish, 1222 Main Street, Worcester. Burial is at St. John's Cemetery, 260 Cambridge Street, Worcester.
Published in Worcester Telegram & Gazette from Dec. 4 to Dec. 6, 2018
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