Jeanne B. (Cullen) Cronin

October 14, 2016

Jeanne B. (Cullen) Cronin

JEANNE B. (CULLEN) CRONIN- of Stoneham, formerly of Woburn, October 14th, seventy-eight years of age. Beloved daughter of the late Anthony and Mary (Jones) Cullen. Dear sister to her twin brother, the late Jerome B. Cullen of Stoughton, Jack Cullen of Siesta Key, FL, Kathleen “Kay” Pattison of Woburn, and the late Hon. Francis P. Cullen, Lawrence Cullen, Anthony “Joe” Cullen and Mary Bruno. Jeanne was predeceased by her long-term companion John Welch. Jeanne had twenty loving nieces and nephews, living and deceased and countless cousins. Jeanne is also survived by many loving friends including her life-long friend Sister Nancy Simonds and by Dorothy M. Cullen. A Funeral will be held from the Lynch-Cantillon Funeral Home, 263 Main Street, Woburn, at 10:30 a.m. followed by a Funeral Mass in St. Barbara’s Church, 138 Cambridge Road, Woburn, Saturday, January 7th at 11:00 a.m.. Relatives and friends are invited to call from 9:00-10:30 a.m. at the Funeral Home prior to the service. Remembrances may be made in Jeanne’s memory to Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, 30 Jeffrey’s Neck Road, Ipswich, MA 01938.

Obituary

CRONIN, Jeanne B. (Cullen) Of Stoneham, formerly of Woburn, October 14th, seventy-eight years of age.

Jeanne was the seventh of eight children born to Anthony and Mary Ellen “Nellie” Cullen of Woburn. She preceded her twin brother Jerome “Jerry,” by a couple of minutes, a fact she never let him forget. Her father was an immigrant from County Leitrim, Ireland, who prior to marrying, was drafted into the U.S. Army and served honorably in World War I, first as an armorer with the 301st Infantry Regiment (“Boston’s Own”), and finally as a medic with the 97th Field Hospital in France. After his return he met Mary Ellen, who’s Jones and McDonald forbears previously settled in Woburn.

Jeanne was raised on Campbell Street in the shadow of Murray’s Leather tannery. By the time she was born, the Great Depression’s privations on the Cullen family (and countless others) had begun to wane. As she became school age, older brothers Lawrence “Larry”, Anthony “Joe” and Francis “Frank”, in sequence, completed Woburn High School, enlisted in the Armed Services and were fighting in World War II. On the home front, Jeanne’s parents were assisted by their middle children Mary (Bruno), John “Jack” and Kathleen “Kay” (Pattison) in raising the young twins.

Mercifully all older brothers returned home from World War II, although Frank was seriously injured in the Marine assault on Iwo Jima. Several years later brother Jack would answer the call to duty as a combat Marine in Korea.

Meanwhile Jeanne began grammar school at St. Charles and remained there, from elementary through senior high school. There she met and was embraced by her second family, the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. Upon her high school graduation, Jeanne joined the religious order and spent the next seventeen years serving its mission of educating the disadvantaged. During those years Jeanne obtained a Bachelor’s degree from Emmanuel College and taught at parochial schools in Boston and Danvers. Jeanne formed friendships among the Sisters that extended throughout her life and into the next.

In the early 1970’s Jeanne returned to the secular world where she continued her work as an educator. She spent the next twenty-five years teaching science, math and other subjects to grammar and middle school students in the Winchester Public Schools. Over the years Jeanne taught hundreds of students at Lynch, McCall, Parkhurst and other town schools. She continuously upgraded her own teaching skills with continuing education and also obtained a Master’s degree from Suffolk University.

Jeanne shared in the rich family life of her six brothers and sisters and their children.

She attended countless family holidays, celebrations, weddings and funerals. She was the favorite aunt to each of her twenty nieces and nephews. Her generosity was legendary and probably one of the reasons she also worked part-time at younger brother Jerry’s package store in North Woburn.

Not long after Jeanne left the convent, she also made her first of perhaps 20 – 30 trips to Ireland. In the beginning those trips were focused on her father’s ancestral hometown of Glenfarne and Jeanne became the liaison between the Leitrim and American Cullens. Later Jeanne’s Irish sojourns included trips to Belfast where she assisted her lifelong friend, psychologist Patricia Doherty, in training group therapy practitioners.

Jeanne also created her own family. First it was through her marriage to the late Thomas (“Tom”) Cronin. Although their marriage ended after more than ten years, Jeanne never lost her love for Tom’s adult children and their children.

In the early 1990s, Jeanne found her true and last love in the Winchester school system. John Welch was a custodian there and seemingly content to be a lifelong bachelor. The romance progressed slowly and cautiously but grew into a twenty year partnership in this life.

Together they took early retirements from the school department and formed a deep relationship. As relatively young retirees they enjoyed many healthy years together. John took ill first and Jeanne was his indomitable care giver. They battled his cancer together for several years until the onset of Jeanne’s own illness.

Jeanne’s dementia crept up like a thief in the night. With the focus on John’s health, her early symptoms were viewed as the byproduct of the care giver stresses she was experiencing. Eventually the demise of her beautiful mind became evident and she had to be placed in a memory loss facility. Even there, at Monarch Homes in Woburn, Jeanne made new friends among the staff and patients. Significantly, she retained her memory of John, long after he predeceased her.

During Jeanne’s several years of illness, Jeanne’s friend for life, Sister Nancy Simonds served as her guardian angel. Sister Nancy maintained a watchful eye over Jeanne’s medical care and was there when Jeanne passed from this world into the next.

Jeanne is survived by too many loving relatives and friends to list. A Funeral will be held from the Lynch-Cantillon Funeral Home, 263 Main Street, Woburn, at 10:30 a.m. followed by a Funeral Mass in St. Barbara’s Church, 138 Cambridge Road, Woburn, Saturday, January 7th at 11:00 a.m.. Relatives and friends are invited to call from 9:00-10:30 a.m. at the Funeral Home prior to the service. Remembrances may be made in Jeanne’s memory to Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, 30 Jeffrey’s Neck Road, Ipswich, MA 01938.

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