Leora Connors

Obituary of Leora Connors

Leora M. Connors, a resident of Burlington for 53 years, passed away after a very brief illness, at the Lahey Clinic Medical Center, on Wednesday, May 29, 2007. She was 77 years old. Leora was born in Malden, the daughter of the late J. Raymond and Mary Dunn. She grew up in Malden and was a graduate of Malden Catholic High School. Over the years, she worked at the First National Bank, and she was also a member of the cafeteria staff at the Pine Glen Elementary School and Burlington High School. Leora was an active member of Saint Margaret’s Church and was a member of the Catholic Daughters. She was an avid reader and enjoyed crafts and knitting. Leora had a wonderful marriage that lasted over 56 years. She was a devoted mother, grandmother, and great grandmother. She was always there for her family and was involved in their lives. Leora attempted to attend every baseball and soccer, school plays, concerts, recitals, graduation, or any other important event in the lives of her children and grandchildren. Leora was the beloved wife of James A. Connors of Burlington. She was the loving mother of Kathleen Connors & her partner Eileen Martin of Topsham, ME, James A. Connors, Jr. & his wife June of Upton, and the late Michael Connors. She was the sister of Raymond Canniff of Revere and the late Norma Nisco. She was the proud grandmother of Amanda, Graham, & Evan Connors, and Cliff & David Martin and great grandmother of Zackery & Gwen Martin. Funeral from the Edward V. Sullivan Funeral Home, 43 Winn St., BURLINGTON (exit 34 off Rt. 128, Woburn side) on Saturday, June 2 at 9 a.m. Followed by a Mass of Christian Burial in St. Margaret’s Church at 10 a.m. Visiting hours Friday from 4-7 p.m. Interment in Chestnut Hill Cemetery, Burlington. Memorials in Leora’s name may be made to Camp Sunshine, 35 Acadia Road, Casco, ME 04015. For Directions, Obituary, & Online register book see www.sullivanfuneralhome.net or www.saintmargaretschurch.net Eulogy by Jim Connors, Jr. Thank you on behalf of my father, Kathy, Eileen, June and I for coming this morning to honor my mother. She was born 77 years ago in Medford Mass to Ray and Mary Canniff and she was given the name Leora Mary. My mother was the oldest of three children. She has a brother Ray and was predeceased by her younger sister Norma. She loved them both dearly. I know little about my mothers early years other than what I have gathered from photos. The one that stands out in my mind is of my mother, as a young girl, in a baseball uniform. I know she didn’t play organized baseball but she was always a fan, particularly of the Red Sox. Like a true fan, she hated the Yankees with a particular dislike for Jorge Posada for some unknown reason. Getting back to her early life, she grew up in Malden and attended Malden Catholic where she met a classmate named Dottie Connors. As you probably have figured out, Dottie introduced my mother to my father who had returned from a 10 year stay in Ireland with that irresistible brogue. After they dated for some time, my father, always the silver tongued devil, swept my mother off her feet with one simple question. “Do you want to be buried with my people?” It is puzzling how she recognized this as a proposal but my mother was a very bright woman. My parents were married September 9th in 1950. This September would have marked their 57th anniversary for those of you still working the math. My sister Kathy was born the following August. In their early days of marriage they lived with my mother’s parents and my mother’s grandfather. My brother Michael was born in 1953 and my parents soon moved to Burlington where they have lived in the same house for 53 years. I was born in 1957 and can end this history lesson and begin my remembrance from a first hand perspective. Ours was a fairly normal upbringing. My mother stayed at home and kept a watchful eye on us. We knew she would be at home or on the front steps of the Breslin’s drinking coffee with her close friend Claire. The normalcy was broken when my brother Mike was diagnosed with Leukemia at the age of 15. My parents went through the next year exchanging the car so my mother could visit Mike in the hospital during the day and my father at night. The times when Mike was home hold great memories. My mother made them special for all of us. Unfortunately, my brother passed away on August 4th, 1969 at the age of 16. It was my mother’s birthday. My mother was supported through this period by friends and family. She considered herself blessed by friendships. She had dear friends that she worked with over the years first at the Pine Glen School and later at Burlington High. Perhaps it was a coincidence that I was in the same schools at that time but then again, perhaps not. When June and I married and we had kids, my mother began the role she was born to fill. Grandma! She hosted many a tea party with Amanda, Graham and Evan. The ritual began with her leading the kids by the hand to Lacacia’s for cookies and ended with an empty sugar jar. She repeated this with Eileen and Kathy’s grandchildren Zach and Gwen many years later with the same results. Cookie crumbs and smiles. She kept every drawing that she received from her grandchildren and recently returned them in manila envelops to their creators. We had Amanda’s drawings out this week along with the tea set. My parent’s attended every birthday party, holiday, baseball game, soccer game, softball game, concert, play and all graduations from nursery school through to college. When Cliff and David were introduced to the family, my parents took special trips with them. Cliff fondly remembers a trip to Fenway park where they saw the Red Sox. My mother remembered and marked every birthday and report card. The good report cards were on the refrigerator and were rewarded with cash. The bad ones were held off but cash was not withheld it was used for encouragement. This was one of the rules that were relaxed as she moved from mother to grandmother. As a matter of fact, I used to say to the kids, I have no idea who this woman is. She would laugh at their mistakes and found it amusing when they acted out. She was a fantastic grandmother and she is deeply missed by her grandchildren. My parents got to see America when they traveled to visit Kathy, Eileen, Cliff and David as Eileen’s job had them living in New York, California, Ohio and Maine. As many of you know, my mother enjoyed eating out at restaurants. Every story she told, no matter if it was what she did that day or the story of some trip that she and my father had taken, started the same way. We had breakfast at, and then she would name the restaurant and what she had eaten. She had no illusions regarding her own cooking. As a matter of fact, when she retired my father began cooking for the two of them. A wise move indeed. My mother had difficulties with health throughout the years. She battled her way back and we were all blessed to have had her at the top of her mental game for the last several years. I am so glad that we all got to see her sense of humor come through again. Our kids were always taken aback by her one liners. Within the past two years she lost her hearing. She didn’t let that stop her as she paraded around with an amplifier in her hand and headphones on so she could catch what was important. Each of her grandchildren was interviewed on a weekly basis. She became quite the investigative reporter. The facts and nothing but the facts. This led to new routines like the 4 day close captioned film festivals with Kathy and Eileen. They would stock up on everything from classics to foreign films and spread them over a long weekends viewing. My mother felt that she was still missing out on some details. We began emailing last year and this helped her to get the information she needed first hand but more importantly to share her feelings more directly. During one email exchange she asked if it was okay that she still called my Jimmy. I said she could call me anything she wanted, Jim, Jimmy or she could call me Ace. She thought that was funny so began to call me Ace in emails and Jimmy when we were face to face. Two weeks ago my father called at 2:30 in the morning and said my mother had a stroke and they were on their way to Lahey Clinic. When I arrived she was in the emergency room being attended by nurses and physicians. The Doctor asked if she new who I was and she said yeh, that’s Ace! Everyone, including my father turned and looked at me with concern on their faces but they were relieved and puzzled when I said she was right. When the room cleared I explained to my father where the name came from and my mother immediately notified him that he was the joker. We concluded that she was the Queen of Hearts and she promptly and repeatedly entertained us with her royal wave. The last 2 weeks have been difficult but, in a strange way, beautiful. We were able to see my mother and share our thoughts with her. Somehow her hearing was better. She understood what we were saying and she communicated clearly. During one exchange she told me that this wasn’t the first time she had experienced paralysis. She said that on the morning of their 50th Anniversary party her legs were not working right. She knew she should say something but she was sure we would have made her go to the hospital to get checked out and she didn’t want to miss the party. She told me once again, what a beautiful party it was and how much she loved it. My mother was half of, and my father would say the better half of, the greatest husband and wife team I know. She told me last Thursday evening how much she loved my father and how he was a great guy who took good care of her. She acknowledged that this was not always easy, as she had been a handful at times, but that he never complained and was always loving and caring. My parents lived out their vows for all to see. For better or worse, in sickness and in health.. They have been an inspiration to June and I and a great roll model for our children. I want to close by sharing words from a plaque in our bedroom that reads: When you come to the edge of all the light you have known and are about to step out into the darkness, Faith is knowing that one of two things will happen: • There will be something to stand on • Or you will be taught how to fly My mother was a woman of deep faith so I’d say right about now she’s learning to fly.
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