Catherine R. Conaty, 92, of Westborough


Obit Catherine R. ConatyWestborough – A much loved Catherine R. Conaty, of Westborough, died Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016 after a short illness.

Cathy was born Dec. 26, 1923 to Catherine Crowley and William Patrick Conaty at the Boston City Hospital. She lived in foster homes until she was 12, and then was placed in the Fernald State School, where she was subjected to years of harsh treatment. Cathy nevertheless had an inner strength and ability to make the most of a situation. She was especially proud of being named student athlete of the month.

Cathy spoke highly of Governor Volpe and the great difference he made in her life when he visited Fernald and said that anyone who was not on medication should be called a student. It meant a great deal to her to be known as a student. Her status began to improve, and she became a swimming pool assistant. She gave caps and towels to the swimmers. It was her first job and entitled her to wear a yellow band on her arm. Years later, she would still describe the freedoms that wearing a yellow band entitled her to, including walking unassisted to the swimming pool building.

When she was released from Fernald, she lived in Newton and worked in the housekeeping department at Newton-Wellesley Hospital. While at the hospital, she came to know the Bleakney family and quickly became an integral part of the family.

Cathy was warm and loving and saw the good in all people. When she retired from the hospital after 25 years, over 300 people came to her party, including the hospital president.

Cathy was proud of her Irish heritage, traveling to Ireland three times. She also went on many trips with Rex Trailer and a cruise to Bermuda with Bob and Karin Bleakney.

On weekends, Cathy used public transportation to travel all over the Boston area. She could often be found at the New England Aquarium visiting with Hoover the Harbor Seal. When she moved to Natick, she would go walking at the mall and became good friends with the staff at the California Pizza Kitchen. She was especially close to Jon Lombardo, the manager who has a heart of gold and treated her like royalty whenever she would stop in.

For many years, Cathy’s heart ached for Tina Maree Harris, who Cathy knew when Tina was a little girl. Through unfortunate circumstances, they were separated and out of contact with each other for many years. She thought of Tina Maree as a daughter and never gave up on finding her. It was Cathy’s great joy to recently reconnect with her beloved Tina.

Catherine is survived by the Bleakney family, the Neil family, the Gorham family, the Pawley family, the Lambert family, the Locher family, the Harris family, the Jurgeleit family, the Spiller family, the Paltrineri family, and many, many friends.

Her funeral service will be held Saturday, Feb. 27, at 3 p.m., at the First United Methodist Church, 120 West Main St., Westborough. Calling hours at the David A. Pickering Westborough Funeral Home, 62 West Main St., Westborough, are Friday, Feb. 26, from 4-7 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory can be made to Tina Maree’s niece at

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