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The daughters of Catherine Patricia Moynihan Mullins, last surviving child of the storied Moynihan-Moriarty clan, are heartbroken to share that our beloved Patsy passed from this earth on Wednesday, May 17. We take comfort knowing she was surely welcomed into the loving arms of her deeply missed husband, mother, father, sisters, and brother.
Born February 18, 1937, Catherine was the youngest child of scrappy County Kerry, Ireland immigrants Timothy (Barraduff) and Eileen Moriarty Moynihan (Glenflesk), founders and proprietors of Moynihan’s Restaurant on Main Street. At an early age, Tim dubbed her ‘Patsy,’ a nickname she used in all but formal settings.
Growing up on Vernon Hill, with her parents active in the community and Ascension parish, Patsy formed close ties with the children of other Irish immigrants: playing outside morning to dusk, traipsing up and down Vernon Street to church, school, Oscar’s drug store.
The course of Patsy’s life changed forever at age sixteen, when her father, the pinnacle of health, unexpectedly collapsed and died. She always shared the story of how grateful she was to have him all to herself only days before, when just the two of them took a weekend jaunt to Manhattan, her first trip to that city.
Patsy was a bright student. Her family treasured higher learning. She was a talented musician with a passion for classical piano when she graduated from Ascension High School in 1955. Though she was offered music scholarships to colleges in Boston and Washington, DC, Patsy sacrificed her dreams and opted to study locally, to provide companionship to her bereaved mother.
For years, Patsy worked part-time at Denholm and McKay in the accessories department. She also worked summers for the city as a lifeguard at the Crompton Park pool, where she resuscitated a drowning child whose name is now lost to history. She graduated in 1959 with an education degree from what is now Worcester State University.
At a college party, she met her future husband Bob, then a teacher and graduate student. They married in 1960 and enjoyed 57 years together, before Bob passed in 2017. Those years were filled with evening house parties, piano sing-a-longs, dinners out at the Charles, Coach and Six, and Messier’s, family trips to Moody Beach, skiing day trips every weekend, and winter vacations at Stratton Mountain.
Though a kindergarten drop-out – Patsy’s doting mother explained to school administration that her darling child simply couldn’t get out of bed that early in the morning, Patsy went on to work nearly 30 years in the Worcester Public Schools as a kindergarten teacher. During her most memorable school year, ‘65 – ‘66 at Upsala Street School, she taught her oldest daughter, her nephew, and dozens of neighborhood children.
Upon retirement, she and Bob enjoyed traveling Europe, especially visiting family in Italy and Ireland, and golfing in Florida with their many friends from Worcester Country Club. Avid golfers, they won the Worcester Country Club Coghlin Cup and other championships. In addition to golf and skiing, Patsy loved good books, red wine, long naps, Italian cooking videos, British comedies, NBA games, and dancing to the Pointer Sisters’ “We Are Family” with siblings Mary and Eilyana at family gatherings.
A storyteller by nature, in later years Patsy would share thoughtful and often hysterically funny stories about her childhood, parents, and siblings. She wanted to ensure that we remembered and appreciated our history. She knew she was the last of her kind and didn’t want those stories to die with her.
Patsy is survived by two daughters, Maureen Mullins (Holden), Tara Mullins (Lumignano, Italy); four grandchildren, her namesake Kathryn Patricia May (Spencer), Bridget Maureen May and her husband Matt Denner (West Des Moines, Iowa), Sgt. Conor Mullins Piskator, USMC (Camp Lejeune, North Carolina), and Ann Catherine Piskator (Lumignano, Italy); great-grandson, Jesse Patrick Denner (West Des Moines), brother-in-law Gordon Turpin (Shrewsbury) and many nieces and nephews. She also leaves many grieving friends who she cared for with all her heart.
In addition to her parents, Patsy is predeceased by her husband Robert E. Mullins, Ed.D., her siblings Mary Moynihan Cox and husband Joseph, Arthur Moynihan and wife Jean, and Eilyana Moynihan Turpin.
Calling hours at the Athy Memorial Home, 111 Lancaster St., Worcester, are Tuesday, May 23, from 5 to 8 p.m. The funeral will be held on Wednesday, May 24, with a Mass at 11 a.m. at Our Lady of the Rosary Church, 25 Fales St., Worcester. The burial will follow in St. John’s Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Our Lady of the Rosary Church, 23 Fales St., Worcester, or St. Bernard’s Church of Our Lady of Providence Parish, 236 Lincoln St., Worcester.