Beth O'Rourke
Beth O'Rourke, 44

PAXTON - I died Thursday, April 16, 2015 surrounded by family, in the arms of my husband and anam cara, Brendan Patrick O'Rourke. I was 44 years old. I was a survivor. I was blessed in this life with two amazing children: Courtney Elizabeth age 11 and Seamus Brendan age 8.

I was a Burncoat girl, raised by my mother, Eileen (Courtney) Rafferty now of Holden, and my very dear uncle, George 'David' Rafferty who predeceased me. Henry J Rafferty was my father who also predeceased me. I also leave my brother Sean P. Rafferty, sisters: Noreen Erickson and her husband Robert, Ellen R Harrity and Megan Rafferty, all of Worcester. I leave a most loving mother and father in law, James G. and Hannah 'Joan' O'Rourke; a sister, Colleen and her husband, Martin Dyer all of Worcester; a brother-in-law, James O'Rourke and his wife, Michelle (Holden) and lifelong friends Carrie Ann Buccaglia (Worcester), Maureen Grenier (Dudley), Patricia Flagg (Millbury), and many nieces and nephews.

I'd like to thank my colleague, physician and dear friend Venu Bathini MD, for his care and support in this battle. You always saw me as a person and not a statistic. In addition I thank my PCP Elizabeth Murphy MD, nurses Beth and Faith and all those who cared for me during this journey. It was not easy for me to be a care receiver, but we forged a path for me that brought me further than most would have imagined.

I attended Burncoat High School, Worcester State University obtaining my masters in nursing. As a 'roaming' catholic I attended Mass in various parishes. We are members of St Columba but attended St. Johns, Our Lady of the Angels and the Abbey in Spencer.

Nursing was my calling, during my career I had the honor and privilege, to care for patients who were amazing people; they often gave me the strength and courage to get through my journey and the desire to return to the work of caring for others. I hope I was able to give them a fraction of what they gave me.

I LOVED my life. I loved a long run, to sit quietly by the lake, to read and dance and sing and be silly with our children. We loved watching summer storms blow across the water. I loved to chat and laugh with my sisters and friends, until tears ran down our legs! Brendan and I enjoyed many trips together, most enjoyable were those to Ireland, visiting family to share a pint and some good 'craic'. And of course sitting quietly on the porch with Brendan (listening to the Red Sox). I enjoyed working for a cause, among them, the Pancreatic Cancer Alliance, whose members' spirit and dedication amazed me.

Of all the things I did in this life, nothing compared to being with Brendan and our children. I fought every day to stay alive and to be with them. No person could ever ask for a more loving and supportive husband, always my champion, always. I enjoyed every moment we shared; the great ones, the sad ones, the easy and the hard. I pray they have learned to feel the deep sense of faith that I shared. No matter where this journey brings me next, I will forever carry their love with me, as I am sure there is a piece of me that will forever remain with them.

But cancer does not care who it takes, who it hurts, or honor or love. It comes into your life and starts to break the threads that hold you and you are left to see pieces of yourself slip away and dreams fade. We were clung only to each other with pure love and faith binding us, in the end is when the most amazing thing happens, cancer loses its strength and grace appears. We need to see it. We accept it, and go with it. Grace and love win, not cancer.

I hope to be remembered, with laughter, love and a good pint. And for my children to know "No Momma ever did and no Momma ever will….."

Family and friends will gather to honor and remember my life at calling hours on Tuesday, April 21, 2015 from 4:00 to 8:00 pm at Heald & Chiampa Funeral Directors – The Sumner House, 5 Church Road, On the Common, Shrewsbury Center. My Funeral Mass will be celebrated in Saint John's Church, 44 Temple Street, Worcester on Wednesday, April 22nd at 10 a.m. Burial will follow in Mooreland Cemetery, Paxton.

Honor my legacy and love for my children with a donation to 'Our Story of Love' with a contribution: or become involved and help fight cancer in any way you can. Forgive someone today and fill that spot with love.

To view my online tribute, share a memory or offer a condolence please visit

To plant trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published by Worcester Telegram & Gazette from Apr. 17 to Apr. 19, 2015.
No memorial events are currently scheduled.
To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
Funeral services provided by:
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82 Entries
One of the nicest people on my mail route. It was an absolute joy getting to know you and your family.
Robert Gough
April 11, 2020
God Bless and keep your husband and your children safe from all sickness and harm until they are with you forever. You are a true inspiration to all. Rita
May 16, 2015
Lord bless her family.
give them fortitude and consolation of the Holy Spirit
Benhart Hutabarat
May 3, 2015
To a very Special Women, who so loved her Husband, Children and all that knew her. I did not know you Beth, but after reading your amazing life story, that encourages all that are left behind; with an amazing Angel you were here on earth. Now you are in heaven, where your Faith has taken you, and in the Arms of our Heavenly Father, and Jesus is with you,
as well:) God Blesses your Husband, Children and all her friends whom loved her so very
much. My Sincere condolences to everyone who knew Beth and to the Public, who has been touched by reading what she wrote; about her journey in her life this earth
Sharon Rottiers, San Francisco Bay Area; California
May 3, 2015
May your beautiful spirit live on in the heart and soul of your husband and your children. You were a brave woman whose words have touched so many. Your legacy is one to be proud of. Heaven has gained a special angel who will forever grace those around her.
Kim Shea-Benham
April 27, 2015
If there is a Heaven, surely this sweet lady is looking down on us. She made the world a better place !
April 26, 2015
You were brave and beautiful and I know that your love will live on in the lives and faces of your children and family. Fly free dear girl....
Anita Cymet
April 26, 2015
God has welcomed a new Angel into Heaven. God Bless.
Susan & Terry Clifford
April 25, 2015
Please accept my Deepest Sympathies
Scott Chamberland
April 25, 2015
With my love from the UK - I couldn't finish this without tears. You will live on in your beautiful children. My heart goes out to all of you left behind - I feel and know your pain.
Glynis Sullivan-Porteous
April 25, 2015
In the short time that I knew Beth she was a balm; just by being her honest to goodness accessible self she'll never know the healing she imparted to me. There was nothing phony about her; she gave you the real deal. Her bravery was stunning and her quiet incisive humor added joy and entertainment into our conversations. Divine love can be the only destination for Beth.
Ellen O'Rourke
April 25, 2015
My condolences to the family and may you rest in eternal peace.
Mia Dimbo
April 24, 2015
I live in United Kingdom.6yrs ago we lost our young son to cancer.Have read this lovely words,tears to my eyes.Read it and really nice,sad.Feel for the family.Bless you all.Mike
Mike Cox
April 24, 2015
May her memory become a blessing and inspiration to others.


The Mahler Family
April 24, 2015
Beautiful inspiring message from a truly amazing woman. I did not know her either but after reading her obituary I wanted to offer condolences to her husband and 2 children and know that she will always be by your side loving and guiding you while you are here and you will know when she sends you signs that she is with you. Sending love and prayers to all of you. You were fortunate to have Beth in your life..
Jayne Bishop
April 24, 2015
It was a pleasure to have known Beth. Her strength is an absolute inspiration to all. She constantly spoke about the love and support she had from her husband, children, family and friends. May God bless the family she cherished.
Angelo Giolekas
April 23, 2015
Your bride was an absolute sweetheart. Such a nice person to talk to. I'm so very sorry for your loss. If there is anything I can do to help you guys out please let me know. Bob your Mailman
Robert Gough
April 23, 2015
I did not know you but I feel after reading this obit that I did. What a caring,loving and inspiring woman you have been. Your legacy will live on always
carol dugan
April 23, 2015
Wishing you grace and light on your journey to the White Kingdom, Beth O'Rourke.
Michael Dutton
April 23, 2015
Megan Rafferty introduced me her sister Beth to me while I was shopping. First think came to my mind was that she looked like Princess Grace Kelly. God bless her soul and give a strength to the entire family.
Nurjan Wilkie
Nurjan Wilkie
April 23, 2015
I did not know you but I felt like I did after reading your obituary~ I was moved beyond words- God bless your family and may you rest in peace~
April 23, 2015
Rest in Peace
April 22, 2015
I did not know you, but you were a beautiful woman both inside and out. I hope your children can hold onto all memories of you for their years to come. God bless your family.
V Mansfield
April 22, 2015
I am also a nurse and work at Umass, I did not have the pleasure to know Beth, but my love and prayers are with everyone who knew her. She sounds like an amazing person ! There are no words that we can say, just know sooo many care. xoxo
April 22, 2015
I never knew you, God bless you Beth
Bruce Stevens
April 22, 2015
I am so humbled an speechless by Beth's strength and courage to touch so many lives. After reading her beautiful words and story Beth has put my life in a different perspective. God bless her and her family and loved ones at this time. God just took another angel home!!!
Vicky Nelms
April 22, 2015
I just read the most beautiful obit ever. God bless this woman.
April 22, 2015
you have touched me, and I have fallen to pieces to know I felt so sorry for myself, as I travel a similiar road. I will get myself through this, I was meant to see this, to read your words, you have touched me, my angel.
Debbie Anderson
April 22, 2015
I too worked with Beth at the Memorial Campus. She was an inspiration and encouraged us to urge our granddaughter to consider a career as a NP/PA which she has done. She was always the go to person when a decision needed to be made. Care for her patients was uppermost
May God Bless her and give her rest and may her family deal with her loss with the strength she has left with them.
Marilyn Kramarz
April 22, 2015
You are a great woman, and you have made a difference in this world!
April 22, 2015
I am a friend of Trish Flagg, she spoke so warmly of Beth.I am so deeply sorry for the loss of this amazing woman. May all of the wonderful memories you shared with her and her beautiful spirit live on in each and every one of whose heart she touched.
April 22, 2015
Deepest condolences to Brendan, Courtney, Seamus & Family
coworker of 18 years
April 21, 2015
So sorry for your loss! I didn't know her but she sounds like she was an amazing person!
April 21, 2015
My sincere sympathy to the O'Rourke & Rafferty family's for there great loss.
What a GREAT LADY. They say God only takes the best, and it's very easy to see in this case.
Two great Irish family's joined together to remember and celebrate the great legacy that Beth has left everyone.
Beth Rafferty O'Rourke u have not just made ur family Proud with ur strength & love of family & friends but the entire Irish People are Proud that ur one of us.
Ur in our Prayers.
Patrick Allen
April 21, 2015
Dear Ellen and family,

I was saddened to hear about the death of your beautiful and dear sister. Beth sounds like she was a beautiful person who lived life to the fullest in her short time on earth. I was deeply touch by the fact that she wrote her own obituary and eloquently depicted her life with her family and friends. I hope that you find comfort in the many fond memories you all have of her. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers during the difficult days ahead.

Fondly, Mary Ann and Paul Franco, and family (Ellen's neighbors)
Mary Ann Franco
April 21, 2015
"...May you always remember when the shadows fall - you do not walk alone."
God bless,
Mark, Jennifer, Jack, and Gracie Hehir
Mark Hehir
April 21, 2015
You are and were are strong amazing women..God Bless!
nancy b
April 21, 2015
A beautiful to all
April 21, 2015
With deepest sympathy and warm memories of a lovely friendship. Godspeed, Beth. You will surely be remembered for the warrior that you are!
Noreen Lucey Fabrycki, NP
Noreen Fabrycki
April 21, 2015
my condolences to the family Beth sounded like a beautiful woman she went to school with my niece my Marcie Amado.thank God that we have pictures we can go to to help us get through as we get older,
Renee Graham-Amado
April 21, 2015
God Bless your amazing Soul, and Peace be with your Beautiful Family !!
April 21, 2015
Very saddened to hear of Beth's passing. My thoughts and prayers are with both the Rafferty and O'Rourke families. May you find peace in all the beautiful memories of her life with you.
Kerry Cancelli
April 21, 2015
To my Summer Family, my prayers are with you all. I'm sorry we can't be there in person, but our thoughts and prayers are with you all at this time.I remember Beth, as we were growing up at the lake, and those days Mom would add a couple more kids to your family before and sometimes after School. Beth and everyone else made us part of the family. I look forward to sharing many of the stories with my family and friends as time goes by, and smiling. Beth will be missed but her legacy will continue forever.
Brittany Haran
April 21, 2015
Brendan -
Words can never express how deeply Beth was loved by all that met her. We will keep you and your family in our thoughts and prayers.
Becky and Marc Frieden
April 21, 2015
To Noreen I am so sorry for your loss. What a beautiful message. Amazing woman to have written those inspiring words. God bless your family at this difficult time.
Lori Armenti bourke
April 21, 2015
She was my homecare patient and amazing. I loved her and I feel so much for Brendan, Courtney and Shamus and for all of us who will miss her. She was absolutely amazing
April 20, 2015
To the O'Rourke & Rafferty families; Please accept my sympathy on the loss of Beth. She was a beautiful person both inside and out.
Jane Pickett and family.
Jane Pickett
April 20, 2015
May the love of God bring you peace...may the love of family and friends bring you comfort!

A Mom and Grandmother
April 20, 2015
April 20, 2015
My deepest sympathies to your family. I knew Beth from her work at UMass many years ago, and we had lost touch. I had no idea she was ill. She was a beautiful and very classy woman, and heaven will be all the brighter for her presence. Please take solace in knowing that she touched the lives of many people with her beautiful smile and kind heart. She will never be forgotten.
Renee Windward
April 20, 2015
To the Families of Beth O'Rourke,
Our prayers and thoughts go out to all of you at this sad time, The few times I met Beth she was so friendly and sweet,Our hearts sadden for all of you.Prayers are with you all.
Carol Hull Massey and Bill Massey
April 20, 2015
May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.
Anthony Petrone & Family
April 20, 2015
My thoughts are with all of you. Beth had such a unique relationship with my husband for so many years that I also had the pleasure of getting to know her.
She was such a brave and wonderful woman I will never forget her.
My heart is full for all of you
Elaine Fallon
April 20, 2015
To my dearest family, some things I'd like to say...
but first of all, to let you know, that I arrived okay.
I'm writing this from heaven. Here I dwell with God above.
Here, there's no more tears of sadness; here is just eternal love.

Please do not be unhappy just because I'm out of sight.
Remember that I'm with you every morning, noon and night.
That day I had to leave you when my life on earth was through,
God picked me up and hugged me and He said, "I welcome you."

It's good to have you back again; you were missed while you were gone.
As for your dearest family, they'll be here later on.
I need you here badly; you're part of my plan.
There's so much that we have to do, to help our mortal man.

God gave me a list of things, that he wished for me to do.
And foremost on the list, was to watch and care for you.
And when you lie in bed at night, the day's chores put to flight.
God and I are closest to the middle of the night.

When you think of my life on earth, and all those loving years
because you are only human, they are bound to bring you tears.
But do not be afraid to cry; it does relieve the pain.
Remember there would be no flowers, unless there was some rain.

I wish that I could tell you all that God has planned.
But if I were to tell you, you wouldn't understand.
But one thing is for certain, though my life on earth is o'er.
I'm closer to you now, than I ever was before.

There are many rocky roads ahead of you and many hills to climb;
but together we can do it by taking one day at a time.
It was always my philosophy and I'd like it for you too...
that as you give unto the world, the world will give to you.

If you can help somebody who's in sorrow and pain,
then you can say to God at night......"My day was not in vain."
And now I am contented....that my life has been worthwhile,
knowing as I passed along the way, I made somebody smile.

So if you meet somebody who is sad and feeling low,
just lend a hand to pick him up, as on your way you go.
When you're walking down the street, and you've got me on your mind;
I'm walking in your footsteps only half a step behind.

And when it's time for you to go.... from that body to be free,
remember you're not're coming here to me.

Ruth Ann Mahaffey (author)
©Copyright 1998
Debra Maddox
April 20, 2015
Courtney & Seamus,
Always remember that love never dies!!! Your mom is with you,every second,of everyday!!! Keep on making, mommy proud!!! She is your guardian angel now!!! Beth you will be MISSED so much,but I'm glad that you no longer have to suffer with the battle of cancer,anymore. Rest in peace,my friend!!!
A Friend
April 20, 2015
With deepest sympathies...she sounds like an amazing should be proud.
Joanne OConnor
April 19, 2015
Dear family,
I know Beth is in heaven and what beautiful
person she was. I never met her but I am a nurse,
A cancer survivor , and a Christian. You are blessed to have had her but my my deepest sympathy goes out to all of you. My prayers all with all of you. Mary in Holden.
April 19, 2015
how blessed we are to have known you Beth. Epitome of a beautiful human being To your family., heartfelt condolences Sincerely with love
Chrissy Dunn
April 19, 2015
I'm so sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
Lisa McKiernan
April 19, 2015
Dear Brendan and all the Raffertys, So sorry to hear about Beth's passing. We all had such good times in high school, and Beth was such a wonderful person. Thinking of you all, Brendan Gleeson
Brendan Gleeson
April 19, 2015
Dear Family, I needed to send my deepest sympathy to you all after I read the beautiful story of your lovely Beth.
I lost my lovely daughter to this dreadful disease and found the paragraph that ended, Grace and love win, not cancer, touched my heart.
Prayers and peace to you all
April 19, 2015
Eileen, Ellen and deeply sorry I am to have read of Beth's passing. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you at this time, and most especially for her two, young children who must cope with the loss of their Mom.
Maureen O'Malley Jasper
April 19, 2015
To the O'Rourke and Rafferty Family: My thoughts and prayers are with you. May God hold Beth in the palm of His hand. RIP, Beth.
John Riley
April 19, 2015
My sincerest condolences to Beth's family. She was a a beautiful and funny person I had the pleasure of working with at Umass. She will be missed.
Judy Dowd
April 19, 2015
Beth was a beautiful person and you were so lucky to have had her as your wife and mother of your children. My heartfelt sympathy with your loss, my heart is heavy for you and your family. So many people have succumbed to this terrible disease. You are in my thoughts and prayers and I hope one day there will be a cure so other families will not have to go through the pain of such a loss.
Paulette Masse
April 19, 2015
Dear Sean & Family~ My deepest condolences go out to you and your family... I will always remember Beth's beautiful smile in the hallways at Burncoat Sr High as she was always making me laugh in class... You will be greatly missed...
Neal Latino
April 19, 2015
A bright light went out on April 16 when all that knew and loved Beth lost her. Deepest sympathy to Brendan, Courtney and Seamus and all her family and friends.
Joe & Karen Hoy
April 19, 2015
Grief can be so hard, but our special memories help us cope. Remembering you and your loved one today and always.
Lisa Pascarelli
April 19, 2015
Dear Sean and family,
We are deeply sorry for the loss of your beautiful sister. Our thoughts, prayers and love are with you and your family at this difficult time.
Jerry and Joan Perna
April 19, 2015
Brendan, Our deepest heartfelt sorrow for your loss . We pray for strength and peace for you and your family . Gary & Theresa Kapurch
Gary & Theresa Kapurch
April 19, 2015
I am so sorry for your loss. Beth was one of the most beautiful people I have ever known. I love that our girls are friends. I will forever remember Beth, her smile, and love for everyone. I only wish that I had known her longer. My family will be lifting yours up in prayer!
Laura Berg
April 18, 2015
I am saddened by your loss of life; the world lost a beautiful women. Heaven is growing with love.
I don't know any of you however I am touched by such strength and courage. Faith is a blessing and God has truly blessed you all with a magnificent gift of generosity by sharing your personal story. I will keep you all in my prayers. God is with you; as you know.
April 18, 2015
Our prayers and thoughts are with you and your family. David and Margaret Powers
David & Margaret Powers
April 18, 2015
I am sorry for you lost Beth was good friend at Umass and she will
Be miss
Sean P Hastings
April 18, 2015
I am sorry for your lost and for family. And Beth will be Miss at Umass
Sean P Hastings
April 18, 2015
Dear Sean~ I am so sorry to read about the passing of your beautiful sister. My sympathy and prayers to you and your family.
Donna Zona Towner
Donna Towner
April 18, 2015
Dearest Colleen and Martin,
My heartfelt and deepest condolences to you and your family. May God Bless you all at this difficult time and may fond memories bring you comfort.
With sympathy,
Joan M Perna
April 18, 2015
I had the pleasure of knowing Beth at Umass! She was a delightful,energetic,caring and compassionate person that showed in her work and everyday life! . She will be missed. RIP Beth
Janet Solomon pawleys Island,SC formerly Worcester,Mass
April 18, 2015
There are no words to appropriately convey thoughts and feelings. Know that Beth will be missed by many and remembered forever in our hearts.
Audrey Kurlan-Marcy
April 17, 2015
rest in peace
a mother
April 17, 2015
Brendan, We are truly sorry for your loss. No words can express the sorrow we feel for you and your family.
The Pechies
The Pechies
April 17, 2015
So sad, What a huge loss.
Beth was the cutest and funniest teenager that ever graced 41 Burncoat Street house parties.
Our love and prayers go out to her family , husband and children.
Nancy and Ray Frieden
Nancy Frieden
April 17, 2015