Olive May Kentel, 99
Shrewsbury – Olive May (McGowan) Kentel, a 36-year resident of Shrewsbury, passed away at the Beaumont Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Center at Westborough Wednesday, May 1, 2013 at the age of 99.
Ollie, she was known all her life, was preceded in death by her very beloved husband of 59 years, Valentine, who was known by one and all as Val; her parents, Thomas J. and Amy (Smith) McGowan; brothers Raymond, Paul, Harry, and her beloved Robert; sisters Amy, Helen, and her very beloved older sister Blanch; sisters-in-law Mrs. Raymond (Cora Mathieu) McGowan, Mrs. Paul (Florence White) McGowan, Mrs. Harry (Loretta M. Swart) McGowan, and Mrs. Robert (Agnes Flynn) McGowan; a niece, Florence (McGowan) Fumia; and nephews Robert, Paul, Jr. and Kenneth F. X. McGowan.
She was the last of her generation of McGowans and a descendant of Sir William Phipps, who was knighted by King James II of England and subsequently appointed the first Royal Governor of the Province of Massachusetts Bay.
As the very much beloved Matriarch of the McGowan family, she is survived by her very loving and devoted nephew, Dr. David L. McGowan and his wife Susan Margaret (Rigg) McGowan of San Jose California; several grand nieces and nephews, along with numerous great-grandnieces and nephews; and Tommy of Maynard.
As were her seven siblings, she was a graduate of Natick High School, class of 1931, and was actively involved in various and numerous extracurricular activities. She was a talented pianist and an extraordinarily accomplished dancer and declined an invitation at the age of seventeen, at the behest of her mother, to tour Europe after having been invited by a touring Russian dance company. She was an accomplished teacher of dance and an instructor in the performing arts for several years before entering the academic and business world.
She was a very successful businesswoman, having been co-owner with her late husband Val of the very well-known Hickory Hills Western Wear in Old Bridge and East Brunswick, New Jersey, which was one of the premiere western wear emporiums in the Northeast. As an adjunct to her business, she became actively and passionately involved in both round and square dancing in New England and the Northeast and was extraordinarily accomplished in her avocation. She also participated in recreational leagues in bowling and golf.
A key member of the administrative support staff of New Jersey’s Rutgers University for 26 years prior to her formal retirement, she was awarded an honorary degree prior to moving back to Massachusetts in her retirement.
Ollie was a multitalented and compassionate woman of exemplary integrity and extraordinary accomplishments, who never lost sight and perspective of the attributes and vagaries of her fellow man. She very quietly, and without fanfare and publicity, generously gave of herself to many causes and charities, as well as giving much unobtrusive concern, care and consideration to many individuals.
Ollie shall be exceedingly missed by all she touched in her long and very fruitful life; along with her wry sense of humor and quasi curmudgeon like persona.
She will never be forgotten and oft remembered.
Relatives and friends are invited to visit with Ollie’s family Thursday, May 16, from 10 to 11 a.m., in the Britton-Shrewsbury Funeral Home, 648 Main St, Shrewsbury. A funeral Mass celebrating her life will follow at 11:30 a.m. in her parish church of Saint Mary’s, 640 Main St., Shrewsbury. Burial will immediately follow after the Mass at St. Patrick’s Cemetery in Natick, where she shall be finally conjoined with her oft-missed and very beloved family.
It was Ollie’s desire and the family’s fervent request that, in lieu of flowers, a contribution in Ollie’s name be made to the Seashore Trolley Museum, P.O. Box A, Kennebunkport, ME 04046, to the “Restoration Fund for Raymond H. McGowan’s Car # 41″ which was operated as a diner in Natick and formerly owned by her oldest brother, Raymond H. McGowan. This will enable Car 41, which is in the preliminary process of restoration, to be completely restored and subsequently operated on the museum’s trolley line for the riding enjoyment and education of the public at the museum.
A luncheon and no-host bar celebrating Ollie’s life will be held in the special dining room at AJ Tomaiolo’s Italian Restaurant, 411 West Main St., Northborough, after the funeral Mass and internment. All her family, friends, and those who knew her and shared her life’s experiences are cordially invited to attend.
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