NORFOLK-Mary Ruth (Holderreid) Conlin, 78, longtime resident of Norfolk, Massachusetts, and most recently residing in Mystic, Connecticut, passed away peacefully on November 4, 2020. Mary was the proud, nurturing, and adoring mother of Paul (Jill) of Illinois, Richard (Nicole) of New Hampshire, and Steven (Tina) of Connecticut; adoring grandmother of Nicholas, Matthew, Nadia, Chad, Chase, Allison, Charlie and Amelia ; and the devoted sibling for eight decades of Joseph (Betty) of Westwood, MA, Louise (Cummings) of Sandwich, MA, Leo (Gay) of Medfield, MA and Evelyn (Atchison) of Chandler, AZ.
Mary was born in Boston in 1942, and grew up in Westwood, MA, before graduating with a degree in Education from Boston State Teachers College (now UMass-Boston) in 1964. Mary fell in love and married the love of her life Peter Conlin in 1965. With unfailing determination, she raised her three sons, from 1965 to 1977 alongside Peter, and after his sudden death in his mid- thirties, largely on her own until they reached adulthood over the course of the next two decades.
Mary had great faith in the power of education, structured and unstructured, to fulfill whatever aspirations and dreams her three sons held for themselves-in this outlook, she was decades ahead of her times. Fighting against what at many times must have felt overwhelming odds, Mary reinvented herself as a third grade teacher, and worked full-time for 27 years in the Norfolk Elementary School System, continuing to offer assistance even after that as a substitute teacher. Mary spoke glowingly of former students of hers who had achieved success and happiness in adulthood.
As Mary began the next phase of her life, she took great comfort and joy in planned holiday and birthday visits from her grandchildren, and even more so in seeing them on unexpected occasions, always making her house available to them to drop by when free. Mary lived at the same address, 1 Hunter Avenue, in Norfolk for a total of 49 years, from 1969 to 2018, enjoying walks around the winding country wooded roads, sitting outside in the afternoon sun, and reading as many books as time would allow. She enjoyed cross stitch, needle point and crocheting gifts for her family. Mary loved her time with her 8 grandchildren, reading with them, taking walks, trips to the beach, and sharing ice cream and donuts.
Mary was reinventing herself yet again and starting another phase of her life in Southeastern Connecticut in 2018. She made lasting friendships at Masonicare Mystic and had a blast doing Zumba and showing her competitive spirit while participating in Wii Bowling. Mary's unflinching determination to face whatever life has to offer, the good and the bad, lives on in her surviving siblings, children, grandchildren, and former students.
Mary will be laid to rest alongside her departed husband at Norfolk Cemetery. Services will be private. Mary's family would like to thank all of the staff at Masonicare Mystic for their kindness and support over the last two and a half years. We'd also like to thank the nurses and staff at Lawrence & Memorial Hospital as well as Beacon Hospice.
The private funeral will be streamed live on St. Jude's Church, Norfolk, Facebook page at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday November 7th. Go to St. Jude Church
To send written condolences to the family please visit www.oterifuneralhome.com
and open Mary's obituary. You will find a guestbook tab there that will allow you to write a message.
The Charles F. Oteri and Son Franklin Funeral Home 33 Cottage St. is honored to assist the Conlin Family.