2006-11-16 / Obituaries

Elizabeth McDermott Meagher, 94

Elizabeth McDermott Meagher, 94, of Jamestown, formerly of Worcester, Mass., died at Newport Hospital on Nov. 10, 2006. Mrs. Meagher was born and raised in Worcester, the fourth of five children and youngest daughter of James A. McDermott and Katherine (Lavin) McDermott. She attended Worcester Normal School, an experimental grammar school run by Worcester State Teachers College. She also attended Classical High School, where for her last three years, she was a class officer and played varsity field hockey and basketball, winning All City Honors and statewide accolades for her efforts.

Elizabeth went to Rosemont College, but the constraints imposed by the Great Depression prevented her from completing her studies.

She went to work at Filenes in Worcester and Hyannis, and, in the late 1930s, with her sisters Louise and Katherine, opened a women's clothing store, McDermott and Co., in Worcester. In 1936, she married Jack Meagher, then a young attorney in Worcester.

Together, they raised a family of six children. She was a devoted mother and a constant presence in her children's lives. In her late 50s, with her youngest child in high school and her days as den mother and Girl Scout leader over, she was able to focus on art and making things. She began by sewing, making quilts and other fabric pieces in which traditional patterns were transformed by her bold juxtapositions of color. Over the years, she worked in different ways and various media, including hand-painted postcards, mobiles, and three-dimensional puzzles. The walls of her apartment, her kitchen table, glass jars and coffee cans were all transformed by her painterly hand into objects that are both useful and beautiful. Her work was exhibited and sold at the Society of Arts and Crafts in Boston. She had a one-person show at the Worcester Craft Center and just last year exhibited recent work at the Jamestown Philomenian Library.

An avid reader, her tastes ranged from Henry James and Balzac to John Le Carre and Martha Grimes. She remained athletic and physically fit throughout her life, playing tennis, golf, figure skating, and swimming. She was a fan of the Red Sox and Celtics. Into her 90s, she remained attuned to current affairs, and throughout her life, she was a member of civic organizations, including the St. Agnes Guild of St. Vincent's Hospital in Worcester, the Worcester Art Museum, the Worcester Historical Society, and the Conanicut Island Art Association. For several years, she volunteered for the School Volunteers of Worcester, helping children learn to read. She donated a commemorative quilt depicting the history of Worcester to the Worcester Craft Center, which was used as a fund-raiser. She donated quilts and potholders to the Provincetown Aids Support Group, Helping Our Women of Provincetown, and the Jamestown Community Band.

She is survived by her children Mary of Jamestown, John H. of Rumford, Dermot of Boston, Mass., Andrew of Shrewsbury, Mass., Padric of Warwick, Timothy of Washington, D.C., and four grandchildren.

The funeral was held Monday from Callahan & Fay Brothers Funeral Home, 61 Myrtle St. in Worcester. Burial was in St. John's Cemetery, Worcester.

There will be a memorial service in Jamestown to be arranged at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to a charity of the donor's choice. For the online condolence book, visit www.callahanfay.com.

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