Betty (Willis)'s Story

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Katherine Elizabeth McIsaac of Groveland passed away peacefully on Sunday, April 23, 2017, at the Merrimack Valley Hospice House in Haverhill, Mass.
Betty was born in Haverhill on November 10, 1931, to Walter and Mary (Sheehan) Willis. Having grown up in Haverhill, she graduated with the Class of 1949 from Haverhill High School. After graduation, Betty attended Mount Auburn Hospital School of Nursing in Cambridge, Mass. Upon graduating in 1952, she was employed at Mount Auburn Hospital for three years, before returning to Haverhill to work at the former Hale Hospital. By the end of her 11 years at the hospital, she was the evening and operating room supervisor.
In 1965, she met the man who would change her life. A true love story that began with a blind date, Betty married Walter McIsaac in 1966, and shortly thereafter they welcomed their son, Paul to the world, although years of parenting would convince her she got the wrong baby. It was at this time that Betty set aside full-time nursing to care for her newborn son and ailing mother. Betty eventually returned to nursing as a substitute school nurse in the Pentucket Regional School District, as well as conducting the annual eye and ear testing for students throughout the district. As a longtime resident of Groveland, she also served on the Groveland Board of Health, as a Trustee of the Langley-Adams Library, and was a long-time member of the Groveland Nurses' Club.
Her greatest joys were her family and large circle of friends. Betty remained a nurse through-and-through, always taking care of those around her, regardless of what they needed. At her best when things were worst, Betty's life was characterized by her strength and compassion combined with a distinct humor, warmth, and kindness. She had an uncanny ability to walk into any room and not see strangers, simply friends not yet made. Betty ended her days in the same way she lived her life, surrounded by joy, laughter, and a liberal helping of mischief. She was comforted in her final days by many visits from friends and family. Often boisterous and at times raucous, her room was full of people sharing stories and songs, proudly and joyously sung loudly and out-of-tune. She left us surrounded by much love and even more laughter. For those of us left behind, the world suddenly seems a much smaller place in her absence. Betty was, and always will be, our sunshine.
Betty leaves a beloved son, Paul, his wife, Sally and two grandchildren, Hannah and Finlay, who she deeply adored and cherished, all of Newbury, Mass.; a niece and nephew she truly regarded as her own children, Cindy Dunphy and her husband, Larry of Cabot, Ark., and Leonard Willis of Exeter, N.H.; along with several dearly loved cousins and many friends. Her husband and true love, Walter, preceded her in death in 2002. Betty wanted to express deep gratitude for the extraordinary care she received while in the Intensive Care Unit at Anna Jaques Hospital and at Merrimack Valley Hospice House during her final days.
Family and friends are respectfully invited to attend calling hours on Friday, April 28, 2017, from 4 until 7 p.m. at the Kevin B. Comeau Funeral Home, 486 Main St., Haverhill. Funeral services will begin Saturday, April 29, 2017, at 9 a.m. from the funeral home, with a Mass of Christian Burial to be celebrated at 10 a.m. at St. John the Baptist Church, 110 Lincoln Ave., Haverhill, and burial to follow in Bridge Street Cemetery, West Newbury. In lieu of flowers, those who wish could make donations in Betty's name to the Friends of the Groveland Council on Aging, P.O. Box 301, Groveland, MA 01834 or the Merrimack Valley Hospice House, 360 North Avenue, Haverhill, MA. Please visit Comeau Funeral Home on Facebook or www.comeaufuneral.com.
Published on  April 26, 2017
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