Hearts Love 32

Evelyn M. (Desmond) Casey

July 1, 1922 ~ February 16, 2022 (age 99)

Obituary Image

Obituary

CASEY, Evelyn M. (Desmond) of Watertown, February 16, 2022. Age 99. Beloved wife of the late Capt. Francis J. Casey (USN, ret.). Loving mother of Lt. Col. Kevin W. Casey (USA, ret.) & his wife Elizabeth of Reston, VA, Maureen F. Robertson & her husband Gary of Milford, and the late Warrant Officer James P. Casey (USA). Dear sister of Ann Desmond of Belmont, and the late Daniel J., William, and Mary Theresa Desmond. Loving grandmother of Melissa Przybysz, Megan Casey, Keith James Robertson, and the late Sean Casey Enos-Robertson. Doting great-grandmother of 10.

Rather than a “standard” obituary, the Family would like to share with the reader excerpts from a Blog written by Susan Goodman three years ago. Ms. Goodman interviewed Evelyn in person on multiple occasions for a piece she was writing about “Women’s lives at 85+”. The family felt that her piece describes Evelyn’s life best – in her own words.

************************

“I’ve seen a lot of changes during my lifetime. For many years, the only way to keep our food cold was to wait for the iceman to fill the icebox. Now look at me! I’m on the Internet.”
Evelyn Casey, age 96, holds her tablet and views the stunning photos her son Kevin has sent from his travels to the Canadian Rockies.

“The pictures are so clear. I can practically smell the fresh air.”

It is truly remarkable that Evelyn can enjoy sights that are thousands of miles away that her son discovered just moments before.

Evelyn grew up in a simpler time. Her world was shaped by firm rules and full compliance was the expectation. She was the daughter of immigrants. Her father, born in Ireland, taught his children to “remember their place.”

“The Irish were not that well appreciated at the time. My father told us to stay in the background. Don’t show off. Don’t be bossy. You’re lucky to be alive and living in such a great place.”
There were additional directives passed along.

“Growing up, I learned to appreciate the Church and education. These had been the guiding principles taught by my father.”

Like many young people, when Evelyn first entered the world of work, she had to endure some toe stubbing until she found her path. She can still recall the awkwardness of applying for a sales job at the Grover Cronin department store in Waltham.

“The job included modeling the featured clothing. I was the same age as all the other girls at the interview but they looked more grown up. They were wearing makeup, something I was never allowed to do. I knew I was out of my league.”

Evelyn explored other options. She was hired as a clerk at the Waltham Watch Factory. It proved to be a good fit. This was the start of a satisfying career as a bookkeeper.

When Evelyn was married in 1945, she and her husband Frank set up a household that mirrored the strict tenor of her childhood home. Frank was in the Navy and he brought the orderliness of that world into their everyday lives.

As a Navy wife, Evelyn was familiar with the drill. The Casey’s three children were raised to be exceedingly polite and well behaved. They knew from an early age how to decipher right from wrong. Money was limited, as it had been when Evelyn was a girl, but that never impacted the family’s ability to “dress the best they could.”

Academic success was highly valued, and each of the Casey’s kids went to college. Once the kids were out of the house, Evelyn returned to bookkeeping.

James, their eldest child, embraced the family’s conviction that military service was a citizen’s obligation. He trained to be a helicopter pilot and left for Viet Nam in January 1969. Five months later, the Caseys received the news that military families most dread. His helicopter was shot down and James did not survive the attack.

The grief was all encompassing. Evelyn’s religious faith carried her through these painful years. She discovered that she coped best when she stayed busy, so she continued to be as active as possible.

When Evelyn retired, her community was opening one of the first senior centers in the region. It was a new concept. Towns were turning their attention to providing space and activities to cater to the needs and interests of their older citizens. Evelyn decided to see what the Watertown Senior Center, with its very accessible membership fee of $.50, had to offer.

Evelyn started off as a participant in an exercise class, but before long, she stepped into a leadership role. For many years, she oversaw classes on nutrition and exercise. Although she didn’t have experience with either, she quickly got up to speed. She took a night class on nutrition and read popular magazines that featured the latest trends. Weight control was a primary target of her class, and she devised a clever approach. Each week, participants came to the senior center to be weighed. Those who had gained weight during the week had to pay a dime. The weight-losers were eligible to win whatever amount of money was collected. Evelyn called the program “The No-Belly Award”.

Evelyn also led a dance class. When the previous instructor decided to stop the class during the summer because the gym lacked air conditioning, Evelyn was very willing to manage the heat and the class.

The years spent at the senior center were particularly special. Evelyn relished the chance to develop new friendships and add structure to her week. Perhaps most importantly, she opened herself up to new possibilities, discovering skills and passion that had previously been unrecognized.

“The people at the center saw something that I was unable to see. I was a teacher!”
While no longer at the front of a room encouraging participants to lose weight or teaching new dance moves, Evelyn remains as busy as ever. Of her nine great grandchildren, two are the enthusiastic recipients of her favorite hobby: creating clothes for the girls’ Barbie dolls. Evelyn’s daughter Maureen is a seamstress and she passes along scraps of material so that her mother can create unique fashions.

It’s a toss-up as to who derives the most pleasure from Evelyn’s handiwork: the two great granddaughters who love to showcase their dolls’ new fashions or the clothing designer who is always up for the challenge of finding a creative way to use a piece of unused cloth.

For Evelyn, the benefits are extensive. First, she truly enjoys engaging in an activity that she didn’t experience in her own childhood.

“I never played with dolls. I was too busy taking care of my younger brothers and sisters!”

When engrossed in a hobby, Evelyn never feels alone.

“You can’t possibly feel lonely if you use your hands. It gets your mind going and time just flies by.

Perhaps most rewarding, Evelyn appreciates the welcomed timelessness in all that she creates.

Funeral from the MacDonald Rockwell & MacDonald Funeral Home at 270 Main St. Watertown Tuesday February 22, at 9 AM followed by Funeral Mass in the Church of St. Patrick, 212 Main St., Watertown at 10 AM. Relatives and friends kindly invited.

************************

Visiting hours Monday 4-6 PM. Interment St. Patrick Cemetery.

Memorials in Evelyn’s memory may be made to The Catholic TV Network P.O. Box 9196 Watertown MA 02471 or at https://www.catholictv.org/

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Evelyn M. (Desmond) Casey, please visit our floral store.


Services

Visitation
Monday
February 21, 2022

4:00 PM to 6:00 PM
MacDonald Rockwell MacDonald Funeral Home
270 Main St.
Watertown, MA 02472

Mass of Christian Burial
Tuesday
February 22, 2022

10:00 AM
Church of Saint Patrick
212 Main Street
Watertown, MA 02472

Donations

Catholic TV
PO Box 9196, 34 Chestnut St., Watertown MA 02472
Web: http://www.catholictv.org

© 2022 MacDonald Rockwell & MacDonald. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS & TA | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Accessibility