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Mary (Healey) Donnelly

August 14, 2019
Mary (Healey) Donnelly
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Obituary for Mary (Healey) Donnelly

78, of Providence passed away peacefully surrounded by her family on August 14, 2019 at HopeHealth Hulitar Hospice Center. Mary was preceded in death by her husband Charles E. Donnelly and was the daughter of the late Peter F. Healey, Sr. and Elizabeth E. Healey.

She grew up in Central Falls and lived in a number of other places around New England as well as in Delmar, NY, and Frankfurt, Germany. Mary and her late husband raised their family in Barrington. She most recently resided in Providence.

Mary had a distinguished academic record and an impressive professional career. Upon her graduation from St. Mary Academy-Bay View, Mary was awarded a full scholarship to Salve Regina College, where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree. Subsequently, she earned a Master’s degree at Boston College where she was a recipient of the National Institute of Mental Health grant for graduate studies. At Boston College, she focused on community organization which included social planning and community development. Her academic studies along with her life experience shaped her career path.

Following her graduate studies, Mary was appointed executive director of Organized New Bedford Opportunity and Reserve Development program (ONBOARD), a community action program launched as a result of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964. She went on to have a notable career as a social worker in many different clinical settings and locations including Torrington, CT; Albany, NY; Wiesbaden, Germany and Providence.

For 23 years – from 1987 until her retirement in 2010 – Mary served as Director of Social Work at Women & Infants Hospital in Providence. During her tenure at Women & Infants, she worked extensively with patients through the fertility program, and was renowned for her work ethic and sound judgment.

From 1997 through 2015, she was a member of the Board of Day One, the only agency in Rhode Island organized to deal with issues of sexual assault as a particular concern. Her expertise and support were critical in helping Day One to expand its capacity to serve the community and to purchase the building that now serves as the organization’s headquarters.

Mary also served as a Board Member of Ronald McDonald House Charities of New England from 2007-2010, where she was a member of the strategic planning committee and chaired the risk management committee.

Mary is survived by her two daughters – Bridget Donnelly and her husband, Adam Overbay of Cabot, VT and Kate Donnelly Keyser and her husband, David Keyser of Pawtucket. Mary was beloved Mimi to her grandchildren Charlotte and Elizabeth (Libby) Keyser of Pawtucket. Mary is also survived by her brother, Peter F. Healey, Jr. and his wife, Dianne Healey of Washington, DC. She was fondly known as Aunt Mare by her niece and nephew, Caroline Healey of Washington, DC and Dan Healey of New York City. She also leaves behind an extended network of family and friends throughout New England and beyond.

Those who knew Mary were always put at ease by her grace, relaxed manner and warm smile. She easily made friends and loved to laugh. She enjoyed crafts and knitting, making a hat for any baby of a friend or relative who arrived in the world. Mary loved her family and enjoyed spending whatever time she could with her granddaughters.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to: Program in Women's Oncology at
Women & Infants Hospital, 101 Dudley Street, Providence, RI 02905 (https://foundation.womenandinfants.org), and Day One, 100 Medway Street, Providence, RI 02906-4402 (https://www.dayoneri.org/Give).

A celebration of Mary’s life will be held on Saturday, September 28th at Noon at Swan Point Cemetery, 585 Blackstone Boulevard, Providence, RI.


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