Donna Mae Lydon (Reilley), of Wilmington, passed away on September 8, 2015, at the Care Dimensions Kaplan Family Hospice Home in Danvers, MA, after a courageous 13-year battle with tongue cancer. She was surrounded by her family. Her faith in God carried her through this long ordeal.
Donna was born in Lynn MA on September 5, 1942, the only child of James and Catherine (Williams) Reilley. Donna’s parents died in a car accident when she was 7 years old and she was raised in Arlington, MA by her godmother, Elizabeth (Williams) Poirier and her husband, Paul Poirier, along with her new loving sister, Carol Poirier.
Donna graduated from Arlington High School in 1960 and Boston State Teachers College in 1964. She married the love of her life and best friend, Ken Lydon, on August 22, 1964. Donna taught school for three years in Quincy MA before retiring from teaching to raise her four wonderful children. She and Ken, along with their two sons, Christopher and Russell, moved to Wilmington in July 1969. The family was then blessed with the addition of two daughters, Catherine in 1969 and Jennifer in 1971.
Throughout her life, Donna loved to garden, care for all the family and neighborhood pets, and cook. Her favorite saying was, “if you can read, you can cook.” She treasured her grandchildren and made each moment she spent with them magical. Donna was very active in her community, especially with the Cub Scouts with the Greater Lowell Scouting Councils and Camps. In 1983 she was awarded the Boy Scouts’ prestigious Silver Beaver Award. Donna worked as a substitute teacher in the Wilmington Public Schools and was active with the PAC at the Woburn Street School, where she initiated the annual pumpkin fair, which continues on today. Donna was a communicant at St. Thomas of Villanova Church for 47 years. She was a member of the Wilmington American Legion Post 136 Ladies Auxiliary, serving as the recorder for many years. She was also a waitress at Stelio’s Restaurant. This allowed her to be at home to raise her four children and meet many people who became her long-lasting friends.
Donna loved to travel with her husband, Ken. Together they went to Ireland, Hawaii, and on many trips to other parts of the country. They loved skiing at Bretton Woods and spending summers at the beach at Seabrook NH.
Donna is survived by Ken Lydon, her loving husband of 51 years; son Christopher, his wife Pam and grandson, Jack of Marietta GA; son Russell, his wife Patty, granddaughter Delaney and grandson Nick of Clifton Park NY; daughter Kati and Jim Murphy and grandsons Russell and Matthew Murphy of Billerica; and daughter Jennifer, husband Sean Theodos, and grandson Sean Paul Theodos, Jr. of Wilmington. Donna is also survived by her sister, Carol Fairchild of Amherst MA, along with many sisters- in- law, cousins, nieces, nephews, and dear friends.
Family & friends will gather at the Nichols Funeral Home, 187 Middlesex Ave. (Rte. 62), Wilmington, on Monday, September 14th at 10:00 a.m. followed by a Mass of Christian Burial in St. Thomas of Villanova Church, 126 Middlesex Ave., Wilmington, at 11:00 a.m. Visiting hours will be held at the Funeral Home on Sunday, September 13th from 3:00-7:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the Kaplan Family Hospice House, 78 Liberty St., Danvers, MA 01923.