Cecilia Helen Lee
October 31, 1933 – September 5, 2019
Cecilia Helen Lee died peacefully, with her family at her bedside, on Thursday, September 5, 2019 in Centerville, Mass.
Helen was the fourth of ten children of Neil and Sadie (Harkins) Doherty of County Donegal, Ireland. She grew up on Minot Street in Dorchester, Mass., attended St. Ann’s parochial school and later graduated from Cathedral High School in Boston, Mass.
In 1949 on an outing to Scholl’s Riverview roller skating rink, the 16-year-old Helen accepted an invitation to skate from 17-year-old Tommy Lee. Thus began a love that remained steadfast and strong through 65 years of marriage.
As a young bride, Helen moved to Orange, Texas where Tom was serving in the U.S. Navy. They returned to Boston a year later and eventually moved to Brockton, Mass., where they raised three children.
Helen’s love of learning led her to a work as a teacher’s aide at the Perkins School in Brockton and later as a librarian at the Huntington School where she introduced a generation of young readers to “Make Way for Ducklings” and other favorite books. Helen was also an enthusiastic volunteer for all her children’s extracurricular activities, serving as a Girl Scout troop leader, hunting down props for school plays, and crafting centerpieces for Sunday School banquets.
In retirement, Helen and Tom moved to their home in Centerville, Mass., where, every summer for thirty years, Helen hosted a festive Fourth of July party for three generations of aunts, uncles, and cousins. They also enjoyed a seasonal residence in Naples, Fla., escaping the cold New England winters.
Helen’s great passion in life was her family and nothing gave her more delight than her two grandchildren, Jennifer and Andrew. She could often be found in the bleachers cheering Jen on to a softball victory or applauding Andrew on the stage of Harwich Jr. Theatre.
Helen was also an adventurous traveler and enjoyed trips to Ireland, Italy, England, France, and scores of destinations throughout the U.S., as well as cruises to Hawaii and Alaska.
In addition to her beloved husband, Thomas F. Lee, Sr., Helen is survived by her three children: Mary Anne Lee of Spencertown, N.Y., Denise Holzman of Marstons Mills, Mass., and Thomas, F. Lee, Jr. of Hartford, Conn., her two sons-in-law, William Holzman and Paul Shipman, and her two adored grandchildren, Jennifer Lee Holzman of Tampa, Fla., and Andrew Lee Holzman of London, England.
Helen is mourned by her siblings and their spouses: Neil and Carol Doherty of Marshfield, Mass., Mary (Doherty) Pipia of Quincy, Mass., Claire (Doherty) Stanton of Braintree, Mass., Bernard and Lois Doherty of Manchester, N.H., William Donovan of Dorchester, Francis and Robert O’Toole of Milton, Mass., and Paul and Patsy Doherty of Southport, N.C.
She was predeceased by her siblings Edward Doherty, Ann (Doherty) Hanwell, and Catherine (Doherty) Donovan and her brothers-in-law Albert Hanwell and Joseph Stanton. In addition, Helen leaves more than fifty beloved nieces and nephews and their children, each of whom had a special place in her heart.
The family extends heartfelt and deep appreciation to the kind and compassionate caregivers at Harbor Point Memory Care in Centerville, Mass. and the skilled and caring nurses of Hospice of Massachusetts.
Helen was a devout Catholic who lived her faith in a long life of love and caring for others. A funeral Mass will be held at Our Lady of Victory, 230 South Main Street, Centerville, Mass. on Monday, September 9, 2019 at 10:00 a.m.
Gifts in Helen’s memory may be directed to the Alzheimer’s Association (www.alz.org) or to the hospice service in your community. The family respectfully asks for no floral tributes.
Funeral arrangements by Doane Beale Ames in Hyannis, Mass.
- Alzheimer's Association
- Funeral Mass Monday, September 9, 2019
- Burial Monday, September 9, 2019
Cecilia Helen Lee
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September 15, 2019
I enjoyed some very peaceful and loving moments with Helen in Naples... I would help her to get ready for bed and she would tell me to sit down next to her and watch TV. Then she would put my head on her shoulder and tell me to go to sleep. Helen will always hold a very special place in my heart.
God Bless Helen and the whole, wonderful extended family!
September 9, 2019
To the Lee Family,
Our prayers and thoughts are with you. I remember Mrs. Lee from Campello sharing in the lives of many children. Denise and I went through the same grades together, and after graduation I got to work with Mrs. Lee in the teacher aide union. Growing up in Campello everyone knew each other or worked with each other. I also waited on the Lee's when they came for their "Cape Cod Pizza". I will remember the memories and keep them close. Again to the family our prayers and thoughts are with you all. There are reasons why people come into our lives, and I was glad Ms Lee came into mine.
September 6, 2019
What a beautifully written description/ tribute to your mother.
Aunt Helen was quite a lady, always kind and calm.
When ever I would see her, no matter the time span
She always shared positive memories of my dad with me.
Her thoughtfulness was always appreciated.