Shirley M.'s Story
Shirley M. (Fecteau) Phelan, cherished wife of the late John E. Phelan, Sr., passed away peacefully into God’s arms on Sunday, November 19, 2017 at the age of 89. She was a devoted daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother, aunt, and friend. Her capacity for love had no bounds.
Born on July 18, 1928 in Haverhill, to the late Louis and Pauline (Bradshaw) Fecteau, she was a lifelong, proud resident of Haverhill. She also summered most of her adult life at her beloved beach house in Seabrook Beach, NH where she enjoyed many wonderful times with family and friends.
She is survived by her three children, Kathleen Phelan of Bradford, MA with whom she lived for the past 11 years, John (Jack) Phelan, Jr. and his fiancée, Liz Hollis of Hampton, N.H. and Ed Phelan and his wife, Diane of West Hartford, Conn. She is also survived by her life-long best friend and cousin, Barbara Tattan of Peabody.
She is predeceased by her parents, her husband, John, his sister, Mary Nedeau and her husband, Ronald, her brother, Louis Fecteau and his wife, Anita and their daughter, Paula, her uncle, Harry Roche and many other relatives and friends whom she loved dearly.
Shirley was affectionately nicknamed “Skip” by her mother, spent her youth in the “Acre” section of Haverhill, and graduated from St. James Schools. Always ambitious and independent, she spent her childhood summers at Country Pond in Newton Junction, N.H. managing lemonade stands and picking and selling blackberries. Known throughout life as a shrewd and meticulous shopper, storekeepers knew her for her endless returns and repurchases of goods on sale.
She married her husband John in 1951 and together they lived a fairly-tale life for 55 years. Her primary goal in life was to make sure her husband, children and grandchildren were healthy and happy. Nothing made her smile more than watching her family open their Christmas presents or attending their sporting events and school functions.
Shirley had a long and joyful 37-year career as a telephone operator where she met many of her closest and lifelong friends. She was also past president of the Telephone Pioneers of America, a non-profit charity that assisted children with disabilities.
Nana will be sadly missed by all of her grandchildren, Lindsey, Ryan, Kiley, Paige, and Devin Phelan. She will also be fondly remembered by Cara (O’Brien) Labelle and her son Matthew, her many nephews and nieces, her former daughter and son in-law, Lisa Phelan and Michael O’Brien, and many others whose lives she touched so profoundly.
Shirley was a devout catholic and a firm believer that God always listened to her prayers. Few people have ever walked the earth that have said more rosaries or blessed themselves more times when passing by any and every church in the country. Known for her kindness, warmth, big heart, and twinkling-eyed smile, she encouraged four generations of family and friends to pursue their passions and dreams.
“Dear God, thank you for giving me the most wonderful life,” was a refrain often heard from her lips. “Dear God, thank you for giving us the most wonderful mom,” will now be her children’s chorus.
Funeral Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated on Friday, November 24, 2017, in Sacred Hearts Church, 165 So. Main Street, Bradford at 10:30 a.m. Interment will follow in St. James Cemetery, 360 Primrose Street, Haverhill. Please meet directly at church. Relatives and friends who are unable to attend the Mass may send their condolences at www.driscollcares.com. In lieu of flowers, contributions in Shirley’s memory may be made to St. Jude at www.stjude.org/about-st-jude/faq/how-do-i-make-a-donation-in-honor-or-memory-of-someone.html. Arrangements by Driscoll Funeral Home, Haverhill.
Published on  November 22, 2017