Ann was born on September 21, 1911 in Lowell, the oldest of six children born to the late William and Ann (Maguire) Handley. A daughter of a local construction superintendent and carpenter, she was raised in the Acre section of Lowell. She graduated from the Academy of Notre Dame. Ann met her future husband, Edward F. Cassidy, at a church dance, married on August 3, 1937 and soon thereafter moved closer to Boston, settling in Wakefield in 1943. She remained at home to raise her son, and her husband worked as a professional engineer for many years.
At 103, Ann was possibly the longest tenured member of the Wakefield Garden Club, a group and activity that meant a great deal to her. She found great joy being a member, and in her own flower garden at home. In her younger years, she was annually involved with the Wakefield YMCA fundraisers, and in the Wakefield PTA. Her strong faith was instilled in her at a young age at St. Patrick’s Church in Lowell, and stayed with her throughout life as a parishioner of St. Joseph’s in Wakefield.
A woman of great pride in her family, Ann reveled in the delight of hearing about their lives and accomplishments. She was a devoted mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, and always inquired about any new personal or professional achievements. Ann enjoyed the ocean with regular family trips to Hampton or Rye beach in New Hampshire. She was also a woman who paid special attention to her appearance, and presented herself with proper decorum.
Ann and Ed appreciated a work related opportunity to reside in California for several years in the 1940’s and later to the island of Jamaica for several years during the early 1960’s. Ann’s enjoyment of sunbathing and love for the ocean and sandy beaches was further enhanced living in these locales.
In her later years, her free time was spent learning about local happenings and current events through daily readings of the Wakefield Daily Item and Boston Globe. She attended regularly the Wakefield Senior Center, where she revived her interest in oil and acrylic painting. Having painted briefly in the 1940’s, she had basic knowledge and talent that blossomed after taking classes at the Senior Center. In her 80’s and 90’s, Ann rediscovered this artistic passion, painting many scenes that she hung at home or gifted to family members. She loved painting, and exhibited many of her works locally.
She leaves this world with a grandmother’s pride, knowing that she accomplished her goal of raising an enduring, loving family.
Ann was the beloved wife of the late Edward F. Cassidy, with whom she shared 57 years of marriage. She was the devoted mother of Edward F. Cassidy and his wife Joan of Melrose. She was the dear sister of Christine Moran of Chelmsford, and the late Mary Dutile, Grace Upton, William Handley, and Thomas Handley. She was the cherished grandmother of Susan McPhedran and her husband Charles of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Sara Smith and her husband Craig of Carlisle. She was the loving great-grandmother of Alexander McPhedran, Sara Jane McPhedran, Ian Smith, and Skylar Smith. She is also survived by many nieces and nephews.
The family would like to express their gratitude to the staff at EPOCH Senior Healthcare in Melrose for the compassionate care and support they provided for Ann.
Relatives and friends gathered in honor and remembrance of Ann’s life during visiting hours at the Robinson Funeral Home, 809 Main St., Melrose on Thursday, June 4 and again on Friday, June 5 at 9 a.m. before leaving in procession to St. Joseph’s Church, 173 Albion St., Wakefield for her funeral Mass celebrated at 10 a.m. Interment will take place in Lakeside Cemetery, Wakefield. Gifts in Ann’s memory may be made to Mystic Valley Elder Services, 300 Commercial St., #19, Malden MA 02148. For directions, online tribute or to share a memory, visit RobinsonFuneralHome.com.