Kathryn L. “Kay” (Aylward) Cantillon

October 30, 2008

Kathryn L. “Kay” (Aylward) Cantillon
U.S. Veteran

US Army

World War II Veteran

KATHRYN L. “KAY” (AYLWARD) CANTILLON – in Woburn, October 30th. Beloved wife of the late Edward J. “Ned” Cantillon, Jr. Devoted mother of Edward J. Cantillon III and his wife Denise and Jean Cantillon Olander, all of Woburn, and the late Marcia and Carol. Dear sister of Marion Flaherty of Reading and the late Margaret Sullivan and Edward Aylward. Cherished “Nana” of Julie Cantillon of Del Mar, CA, Meghan Cantillon of San Clemente, CA, Kelli DeSimone and her husband Ray of Woburn, and Kate and Douglas Olander, both of Woburn, and great-grandmother of Lily DeSimone. Sister-in-law of Mary “Mae” Holbrook, Helen Cantillon, and Geraldine Cantillon, all of Woburn, and Mildred Cantillon of Winchester and the late John Flaherty and Charles Sullivan. Also survived by many loving nieces and nephews. Relatives and friends are invited to Celebrate her life at her Funeral Mass on Wednesday, November 5th at 10 a.m. in St. Charles Church, 280 Main Street, Woburn. Interment will follow in Woodbrook Cemetery, Woburn. Calling hours are private. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Kay’s memory to the GRECC Alzheimers Program, Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital, 200 Springs Road,Unit 62 A, Bedford, MA 01730 or please send a card, note or flowers to someone you may not have seen in a while.

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Kathryn L. “Kay” (Aylward) Cantillon, a lifelong resident of the Woburn community, passed away peacefully, in the comfort of her home, early Thursday morning with her family by her side. The beloved wife of the late Edward J. “Ned” Cantillon Jr., “Kay,” as she was affectionately known, was eighty-six years of age.

Born in Woburn, she was the daughter of the late Edward L. and Margaret (Lynch) Aylward. Kay was educated in the Woburn Public Schools and was a graduate of Woburn High School, Class of 1939. She was the Class Treasurer and member of the first Woburn Girls Field Hockey Team, the Girls Basketball Team and a cheerleader. Following high school, Kay attended the Charles Choate Memorial Hospital School of Nursing to pursue her lifelong dream of a career in medicine. After graduating in 1941 as a Registered Nurse, she immediately began a long and dedicated career at the Choate Memorial Hospital.

Following the outbreak of World War II, the call for qualified nurses was made and Kay responded by enlisting in the United States Army in September of 1943. She was immediately deployed overseas where she served with the 5th General Hospital in the European Theatre and held the rank of First Lieutenant. She was based in England for many months before being transferred to the Normandy battlefront in France. After the war, Kay returned safely home on January 4, 1946 and rededicated herself to her nursing duties at the Choate.

On the first of June, 1947, Kay married her hometown sweetheart, Ned Cantillon. They had known each other prior to the war and Ned, who was also serving in the United States Army in Europe, quipped that he had chased Kay to Europe and home again, before winning her affections.

They first made their home in the Hammond Square section of Woburn before moving to their home on Main Street. The devoted mother of four children, Kay suspended her professional career to raise her children. A strong proponent of education and organized sports, Kay encouraged her children early in their lives to participate in extracurricular activities and athletics and spent many days on the sidelines of athletic fields and basketball courts. Additionally, Kay was also very supportive of her husband Ned’s business, the Lynch-Cantillon Funeral Home, and helped with the upkeep and various other tasks.

In the early sixties, Ned and Kay’s family summered at Wingaersheek Beach in Gloucester. The Cantillons opened their summer home to family and friends over the years and shared many wonderful and memorable times. It was also at Wingaersheek Beach where Kay began oil painting with a group of lady friends. Since that time, she painted numerous landscapes, seascapes, Renoirs and her favorite subject, clown portraits.

Kay was a very devout Catholic and a devoted member of St. Charles Borromeo Church. She attended daily Mass whether in Woburn or in Florida, and was an attendee at many of the Church’s Missions. She religiously prayed each morning and evening and called upon her enduring faith to sustain her through life’s many challenges. Kay was a tremendous judge of character and always seem to find God’s image in each individual being.

Throughout her life, Kay was an extremely energetic and vivacious woman who loved swimming, walking, playing golf and tennis. She was one of the founding members of the Women’s Golf League at the Woburn Country Club and also enjoyed her weekly bridge games with friends.

After their children were grown, Ned and Kay traveled extensively throughout the United States, Canada and Bermuda. On their thirty-fifth wedding anniversary, they returned to Europe where they revisited the sites of their World War II days. During the late eighties and nineties, they wintered in Bonita Springs, Florida.

In later years, Kay and Ned were blessed with five grandchildren whom they absolutely cherished. “Nana,” as she was lovingly known, was very active their lives as well, and attended their academic and social events, always encouraging them to do their best. She spent many precious hours with them on the shores of Wingaersheek Beach, trips to Florida and travels down the Mississippi River, all of which were very special times with Nana.

Ten years ago, Kay was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease but this never diminished her spirit, nor who she was, nor her undying love for her family. In later stages of the disease, she lost her ability to communicate with her words, but she had no difficulty in communicating her feelings and thoughts. Her loving eyes and loving smile always let you know her approval and of course, if she didn’t approve, you knew that also.

Kay was a longtime member of the Mother Cabrini Nursing Guild and a CCD Instructor for St. Charles Parish. She was a member of the Woburn Teachers Association and the School Nurses Association. During the years when Kay was home with her children, she volunteered for health clinics run by the City of Woburn and administered flu shots throughout the city and the school systems. She also was active with the Rotary Club functions as Ned was a longtime member of the Woburn Rotary Club.

In addition to her beloved husband Edward J. Cantillon Jr., who passed away in 1998, Kay was predeceased by her daughters, Carol Cantillon and Marcia Cantillon, and her siblings, Margaret Sullivan and Edward Aylward.

She is lovingly survived by her son, Edward J. Cantillon III and his wife Denise, and her daughter, Jean Cantillon Olander, all of Woburn, her sister, Marion Flaherty of Reading, her grandchildren, Julie Cantillon of Del Mar, California, Meghan Cantillon of San Clemente, California, Kelli DeSimone and her husband Ray, Kate and Douglas Olander, and great-granddaughter, Lily DeSimone. She also leaves her sisters-in-law, Mary “Mae” Holbrook, Helen Cantillon, and Geraldine Cantillon, all of Woburn, and Mildred Cantillon of Winchester. Also surviving are many loving nieces and nephews and longtime friends.

Relatives and friends are invited to attend a Funeral Mass on Wednesday, November 5th at 10 a.m. in St. Charles Church, 280 Main Street, Woburn. Interment will follow in Woodbrook Cemetery, Woburn. Calling hours are private.

At the family’s request, in lieu of flowers please send a card, note or flowers to someone you may not have seen in a while, or a donation may be made in Kay’s memory to the GRECC Program, Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital, 200 Springs Road, Building 62A, Bedford, MA 01730.


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  1. From: Duke (Jim Doukszewicz)

    The stays at Cape Ann were always like a homecoming as Kay made all guests feel like family. She was a mother to all Wingaersheek visitors.
    She and Ned are together again and their legacy is one that many will never forget.

  2. Jean and Eddie,

    So sorry to hear of the loss of your mother. My prayers and thoughts are with you and your family, especially during the holidays. Mary (Roderick) Orr

  3. christina melanson-pearson

    dear mr cantillon and mrs olander….

    may the memories of your mom always rest within your heart in this your hour of sorrow!

    god bless
    timothy & christina (melanson)
    Pearson and family

  4. Jeannie,

    It’s been a tough year. I was so sorry to hear about your Mother. I wasn’t able to attend her mass but didn’t want to forget to send you a small note. We are orphans now, but oh, what parents we had! We were lucky! They gave us a good life, many lessons learned and simply broke the mold when they passed. Just know we share your sorrow in peace and love.
    Jane Winn

  5. Dear Jeannie and Eddie, Many years ago we were in school together, more recently I met your mom, a spectactular lady, to whom it was one of my greatest pleasures to be with. We know she is at peace with your dad now. Those disappearing footprints have taken her home.
    GOD BLESS ALL OF YOU. Sincerely, Mary(Eileen)Collins Farmer

  6. Candy Cagnina

    Eddie, Denise, Jean and family – I was saddened to hear of Kay’s passing. She was a kind and caring person who always had a smile on her face. May she rest in peace and your memories of her keep you at this time.

  7. Nancy Mace-Claflin

    To Ed, Denise & Jeanne, my heatfelt thoughts go out to all of you. Your Mom was a special person, we go back a long way. Please know that you are all in my prayers and thoughts. You have all been so good to me throughout the years. Thank you for that.

  8. To my good friend Jean:

    I am deeply saddened by the loss of your mother & my “special friend”,Kay.I remember when I visited Kay @ the VA last April,she took my hand & put it in hers with a beautiful smile that brought me to tears.Whenever you see bluebell flowers,think of all the good times you had with Mom.
    God’s Peace Be With You,


  9. “…And just at the moment when someone at my side says, “There, she is gone!”
    There are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices ready to take up the glad shout,
    “Here she comes!”

    And that is dying ”
    Henry Van Dyke

    In our thoughts and prayers…wish we could do more
    Ed and Lois (And Lewie in our hearts)

  10. To the Cantillon Family –
    With deepest, heart felt sympathy at the loss of your mother, grandmother and friend
    From the staff at Woodbrook Cemetery

  11. Dear Jean,

    We are so sorry for your loss. Our thoughts & prayers are with you and your family.

    Joan & Michael McGrath

  12. Joan & Michael McGrath
    Dear Jean,

    We are sorry for your loss. Our thoughts & prayers are with you and your family.

  13. I have some very fond memories of Aunty Kay in Woburn and at Wingaersheek Beach. She was such a kind, loving woman who always lit up a room with her smile.

    Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you.

    Doug & Catherine Sarno & Family

  14. Dear Jean, Eddie and Denise,

    Your Mother was my very first patient at the Choate. She was so kind to me and made me feel so relaxed. She was the kind of nurse we all strived to be like. I am so glad I had the oppurtunity to get to know her better over the years through Mother Cabrini and the School Nurse’s.She was a beutiful person inside and out.God bless you all, she is truly an angel in heaven.

    Susan Gilgun Mateus

  15. Good Morning Jean, Edd and Denise:

    I was so saddended to read the news about Kay’s passing. I enjoyed the time we shared at my former bank. Kay was a wonderful customer of mine. She always came in the bank with a smile. You are all in my prayers.

    Robert H. Mc Donough, Jr.

  16. Joy and Larry McCabe
    Dear Ed,Jean, Denise, We were so sorry to hear the sad news about your Mom. She was a wonderful human being and Larry and I remember your Mom and Dad’s compassion to us when we lost our son Larry 3rd. We knew that their concern was genuine because they too had lost not just one but two children. I remember your Mom came to me at Larry’s mother’s funeral and gave me a diamond and pearl pin that I had placed on her dress and she thought we might want to have it. It was very thoughtful and showed what a caring individual she was. She always supported me in the Respect Life Walk that Larry and I do in Boston each year. I know that she is at peace and with your Dad Ned, Carol and Marcia. May God give you consolation and strength to carry on. Love and prayers, Joy I pray for your Dad each day in my first rosary and now your dear Mother will be prayed for too.

  17. Jean- I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your mother, as well as your friend Helen. My thoughts and prayers are with you at this time.

  18. Dear Jean, Eddie & Denise,

    Our deepest sympathies on the loss of your mother. You are in our thoughts and prayers.
    Maureen Quinn & Patricia Pollard

  19. Dear Ms. Cantillon, we were sorry to hear of the loss of your mother on top of the loss of your friend Helen. We are sorry to hear of this very difficult time in your life. May the peace of Christ comfort you in the days ahead.

    David and Trefina Fox (Ellen Fox’s son and daughter in law.)

  20. Dear Jean,
    Yesterday I read of the death of your mother, Kay. May she rest in peace.
    My sympathies, my thoughts and prayers are with you, your children, and family.
    May the good memories help you through this sad, difficult time.
    Lisa Bradley

  21. Dear Jean, Eddie and all the family.
    Mom and I are so very sorry to hear of Kay’s passing.
    We have many fond memories of her as a lifelong friend.
    Our sincerest sympathies to you. With love,Maureen and Lee McGann

  22. Dear Jean, Denise, Eddie and family-
    Your mother was always warm, kind and so gracious. My sympathies to all.
    Denise Wall-Hampton,NH

  23. Jean and Eddie
    Your Mom was the best. Great times with her in Gloucester many memories. Your whole family has a special place in my heart.
    I will be thinking of you while you go through this hard and emotional time.
    Love Susan Torrice Franson

  24. Ed,Denise, Jean and all,
    My most heartful sympathies for your loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all. The ones we love are never gone, they live within our hearts.
    May you know peace and comfort.
    Kay is up there with Gloria watching over us.
    God Bless,
    Charlie & Sandy Culhane

  25. Clare and Bob Cannon
    Dear Eddie, Jeannie and Family
    Your Mother was a wonderful person
    and I feel blessed to have know her
    Clare and Bob Cannon

  26. Dear Cantillon Family
    I am so sorry on the loss of such a beautiful person. Kay was such a sparkle to the GRECC program it was a honor to be part of her life and take care of her theraputic needs. She gave us such joy and lot’s of laughs and brighten the staff’s days on many ocassion’s. I was so lucky to have such a wonderful connection not just with Kay but her beautiful family as well. She’ll be sadly missed by everyone who knew kay, please allways keep in touch with us here at the V.A. Hospital. your in my thoughts and prayer’s with deepest sympathy. Valerie Bergeron

  27. My deepest sympathy to all of Kay’s family. You are in our thoughts and prayers. She will be sadley missed by all staff at the veterans Hospital. She brought joy to all that came in contact with her… Sincerely, Dianne Chilson.. Health Technician.



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