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.