Mary Clare (Hickey) Milan

Mary Clare Milan went home to the Lord on De­cember 22, 2016 after a period of declining health while at Crestwood in Mil­ford, New Hampshire.

Mary Clare was born in Lawrence, Massa­chusetts on April 13, 1931 to Leo J. Hickey and Marga­ret Mylott Hickey.

Mary Clare was always a bright stu­dent and learned to read at an early age. Taught by her Mother, a teach­er, she was tested and skipped the first grade and started school in the sec­ond grade. She always felt that she missed something during that first year, but we who knew her doubted she missed anything.

Mary Clare graduated with Honors from John­son High School in North Andover in 1948. While in school, Mary Clare played the violin and was the Concert Mistress her last two years in the High School Orchestra. She also enjoyed singing and had a beautiful voice.

Mary Clare spent three years at Emanuel and then transferred to Merrimack College. She was an Honor Student at both colleges and was the first female student to receive a degree from Merrimack College. There were only three women in the class, but her last name ended in an H, thus she graduated first. Her husband John always said that is why the shrubs at the College always show the letters MC. After grad­uation she went on to be a successful teacher in sev­eral schools in Massachu­setts and New Hampshire.

One of Mary Clare’s favorite stories that she loved to tell was the an­swer to the question peo­ple would ask how she and John met. She would say, "When I finished col­lege I went to John’s home town to teach sixth grade and met my hero", John would add, "I was in her sixth grade, third row, fifth seat". She always doubted anyone believed him.

They both were proud of their family, their daugh­ter, Beth and the twins, Jack and Kathleen. From this start they were Blessed to have it expanded to six grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

This has overshadowed the grief over the years as they were predeceased by Mary Clare’s parents; her sister, Margaret Patnaude; daughter, Kathleen, who was murdered in 1992 and is still in the cold case file; and their son, Jack, who died of cancer in 2008; her in-laws, Fred and Leda Milan, Dick and Joan Milan, Mar­gie and Bill Lynch and their families. Their strong Faith has been their sup­port all of their life.

Mary Clare is survived by her husband, John; her daughter, Mary Elizabeth Tillotson; and her four children, Charles Edward Crawford and wife Kati and their children, Micah and Tristan; Mary Craw­ford Byrne and Larry By­rne and their two children, Matthew and Kathleen; Christina and Alfie Brag­don and their children, Ebony, Alexz and Braedon; and Christopher Crawford; her daughter-in-law, Sha­ron Milan Snow and her two children, John W. Mi­lan III and Margaret; her brother-in-law, Neil Pat­naude and his family; her sister and brother-in-law, Ann and John Murphy and their family; and her close friend, Nancy Van Kleeck and her daughter, Stepha­nie.

Some have said that this is a sad time of the year for someone to die. How­ever, Mary Clare’s daugh­ter, Beth said, "This is a joyful time of the year. The time when the Christ Child will be born, and we will celebrate Mom’s life at this time every year with joy, love and happi­ness with our fond memo­ries of a woman who loved to be called Grammie".

Mary Clare loved her family fiercely. She will be deeply missed by her fam­ily and all who knew her.

There are no calling hours. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on January 7, 2017 at 11:00 AM in St. Patrick’s Church, 34 Amherst Street, Milford, New Hampshire. A pri­vate burial will be held in the spring. In lieu of flow­ers, contributions may be made in Mary Clare’s name to the Kathleen Milan Scholarship Fund, Bish­op Guertin High School, 194 Lund Road, Nashua, NH 03060. Arrangements are in the care of Smith & Heald Funeral Home, 63 Elm Street, Milford, NH. To share a memory or offer a condolence, please go to www.smith-heald.com.