Mary Catherine Boyle
Date of Passing:
Mary Catherine Boyle passed away here Sept. 22 after courageously facing a particularly aggressive form of brain cancer.
She was born April 27, 1949, in Quincy, Illinois, the daughter of Jeanne Carew McGowan Boyle and Emmet Jeremiah Boyle. When Mary Catherine was 9 the family moved to Cranston, where she attended St. Paul’s Catholic School before graduating from Cranston High School East.
She went on to Pembroke College of Brown University, where she studied French and psychology, graduating in 1971. Her career was spent in the fields of health benefits and insurance, including work as an analyst for the Social Security Administration and Blue Cross Blue Shield.
Mary Catherine was devoted to her family, including her parents, her siblings, and her many nieces and nephews. One of the last joys of her life was meeting and spending time with her two new grandnieces, who she referred to as ‘the babies.’ She was steadfastly loyal to her siblings and nieces and nephews, closely following their lives and careers. She reveled in their triumphs and supported them in their disappointments, embracing both as though they were her own.
Mary Catherine’s interest in family extended back many generations as her interest in genealogy led to her exploration of the lives of ancestors in Ireland, England, and Newfoundland, Canada. That interest led her to become acquainted with distant relatives, living and dead, especially in the area of Witless Bay, Newfoundland. This year she was able to travel to Witless Bay to see firsthand where the forebears of her beloved maternal grandmother, Mary Carew McGowan, settled in the 19th century. The trip was the realization of a longtime dream.
Before moving to East Providence, Mary Catherine lived in Warwick, the Edgewood section of Cranston, and in South Kingstown, which brought her close to the parts of South County she loved most: the beach at Sand Hill Cove, Point Judith, and the harbor at Galilee. She spent many happy hours there, both as a child and later in life.
Other interests included gardening, antiquing, and baking, a skill that was welcomed heartily on holidays and other family holiday gatherings. She reliably made sure that Irish soda bread, baked according to the family recipe, was on the table every St. Patrick’s Day.
She volunteered on several political campaigns, and worked hard to help elect Barack Obama in 2008.
Mary Catherine will be missed by her family and friends.
She was predeceased by her parents and a brother, James D. Boyle, and his wife, Bette Boyle. She is survived by two brothers: John J. Boyle of San Diego, Calif., and Gerard E. Boyle and his wife, Mary, of China Village, Maine; two sisters: Jeanne M. Boyle and her husband Saul Estrada, of East Providence, and Amy E. Vandersall and her husband, Scott Vandersall, of West Dennis, Mass, and several nieces, nephews, and grandnieces.
Calling hours will be Friday Sept. 30, from 4-7 p.m. at the W.R. Watson Funeral Home, 350 Willett Ave., East Providence. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Brendan’s Catholic Church, East Providence, Saturday, Oct. 1, at 11 a.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her memory to Living in Fulfilling Environments (LIFE) Inc., 490 Metacom Ave., Bristol, R.I., an organization that works to provide supportive environments to persons with developmental disabilities to help them achieve their personal goals.