Published in the September 24, 2019 edition.
She was born October 19, 1932 in Melrose, the youngest of five children of Belfast native Col. William John Condell and Mary Helene “Mae” O’Neil (just one “L”, as Nancy was sure to note), the daughter of Irish immigrants.
It’s been written that the Irish temperament is a mixture of “hot temper, stubbornness, great personal charm and warmth, and a wit that shines through adversity. An irrepressible buoyancy, a vivacious spirit, a kindliness and tolerance for the common frailties of man.” Those words were written generally of the Irish immigrant but could very well have been written specifically to describe Nancy, beloved wife, mother, and grandmother, as she was certainly all of those things rolled into one.
She was fiercely proud of her Irish heritage. Woe to the child who dared leave the house wearing even a hint of orange on St. Patrick’s Day, or who let slip an oath in the Lord’s name. She embodied the Irish values of family, community, and faith.
She was raised in Melrose and was a graduate of St. Mary’s High School and Albertus Magnus College. Her early years were active ones, with winters spent skating on Ell Pond and taking the ski train to North Conway, and summers spent swimming and boating at the family camp in Beverly and playing tennis. Later in life, she enjoyed participating in the Wakefield town tennis tournaments and the Fourth of July canoe races. She was proud of her canoe race trophies, though was quick to admit the wins were largely the result of a lack of competitors. For Nancy, it was always more about the friendships and camaraderie of the event than the competition.
It was on the tennis courts of Melrose that she met the love of her life, Richard (Dick) Green, who was taken with her then auburn locks. They were married in 1956 and would go on to share 63 years of marriage. After a few years in Connecticut, where their two oldest children were born, Nancy and Dick moved in 1961 to Robin Road in Wakefield, where they raised their six kids. She was a fixture at the athletic fields and gyms across eastern Massachusetts, where she tormented opponents and her kids alike with her ever present cowbell.
She was a lifelong teacher, starting in Connecticut and then in Melrose and Wakefield. For many years, she taught math at Wakefield Junior High School, where she made lifelong friends and took great satisfaction in making a difference in her students’ growth and transition to high school. She remained dedicated to her mission of teaching through her retirement years, serving as a substitute teacher and private tutor.
She remained active in the retired teachers’ community, serving on the MTA Retired Members Committee and attending monthly retiree lunches. She stayed particularly close with her dear friend and fellow teacher Greta Leach and the Leach family, through whose friendship and generosity the Green family spent many memorable summers at Bonnie Eagle Pond in Maine.
She was the longtime weekend hostess for the Page family at the Colonial Restaurant in Lynnfield, and took great pleasure in dressing up as the world’s largest Easter Bunny for the annual Easter brunch.
Following her retirement from full-time teaching, she and Dick enjoyed annual trips to Europe, the destination typically revealed in Dick’s Christmas poem.
Throughout her life, she enjoyed rug braiding, sewing, and knitting. She leaves her children and grandchildren with a bounty of knitted hats, mittens, and sweaters, some of which actually fit. She enjoyed making and selling knitted baby sweaters and stuffed hedgehogs and beavers (in honor of her husband’s alma mater, MIT) at area craft festivals.
Nancy and Dick were a longtime presence at the election polls in Wakefield, where she enjoyed performing her civic duty but mainly enjoyed reconnecting with former students and catching up on town gossip. She loved the town’s annual Fourth of July festivities, and rarely missed its parade.
In addition to the ill-fitting sweaters, she leaves behind a legacy of love, determination, hard work, and dedication to family.
She is survived by her husband of 63 years, Dick Green, of Wakefield; her children, Tim (Debbie) Green of Richford, Vt.; Cathy Perron of Haymarket, Va.; Andrea (Tom) Matthews of Surry, Maine; Chris (Andrea) Green of Boxford; Mike (Jonna) Green of Westford; and Julie Verdoni of Murfreesboro, Tenn. She was the adored Nana of grandchildren Bailey Matthews Beaver and Meg Matthews; Sarah, Ellie, and John Green; Nicholas, Emma, and Andrew Green; and Samantha Verdoni. She took great pride in her grandchildren’s achievements, loved following their activities, and was very much looking forward to Meg’s 2020 wedding. She is also survived by great-grandchildren Garren Jones and Ella Grace Beaver and several nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by infant son Jon; brother William J. Condell Jr; and sisters Claire Meuse, Elaine Love, and Ruth Alsop.
Her funeral will be held from the McDonald Funeral Home, 19 Yale Ave, Wakefield on Thursday at 9 a.m., followed by a funeral Mass at St. Joseph Church, 173 Albion St, Wakefield at 10 a.m. Visitation for relatives and friends will be held at the funeral home on Wednesday from 4-8 p.m. Interment will be at Forest Glade Cemetery, Lowell St in Wakefield.