Obituaries

Kenneth J. Lydon

April 27th, 2021

Kenneth Joseph Lydon, “Ken”, a Loving Husband, Father, Grandfather, Brother, Uncle and Friend, age 81, of Wilmington, MA, passed away on April 26, 2021, surrounded by his loving family.

Ken was born in Dorchester on September 18, 1939, the second son of Daniel and Mary (Foley) Lydon. When Ken was 7, after the death of his father, he and his brother, Dan, moved with their mother to the Old Harbor Housing Project in South Boston. When he was 10, his mother passed away and he went to live in Hyde Park with his cousin, Margaret “Rita” Russell and Godfather, Joseph Russell. Ken’s three new sisters embraced him as their big brother. Susan, 8, Kathy, 5 and Margaret, 2 would be Ken’s family for the remainder of his life.

Sports were a key part of Ken’s life. He played all sports as he grew up in Hyde Park. Football and basketball were his favorites and he played both at Hyde Park High School.

After graduating from high school, Ken spent a year at Northeastern University. He then enlisted in the United States Navy and found a new love in his life. He served in the submarine service aboard the USS Carbonero SS 337, which was stationed at Pearl Harbor, HI. He was discharged in 1962 and began a 41 yearlong career with New England Telephone. He retired from Verizon in 2003.

Shortly after he left the Navy and as he was beginning his career with the phone company, Ken began dating Donna Mae Reilley, a lovely young lady from Arlington. She was the love of his life. In August 1964, soon after Donna graduated from Boston State Teachers College, the two were married.

They lived in Quincy, Hyde Park, and Dorchester. In 1967, they welcomed a baby boy, Christopher, to the family. In 1968, the loving family expanded to include brother, Russell. In 1969, Ken and Donna bought a home in Wilmington. Soon after the move north, the family welcomed daughters Catherine in 1969 and Jennifer in 1971.

The house that Ken and Donna bought in 1969, has become the family homestead. When children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and others want to “go home,” they head to that welcoming place.

When he moved to Wilmington, Ken became very involved with volunteer opportunities in the town, including coaching both Pop Warner football and recreational basketball. Ken became a member of the American Legion and was a past commander. He served as the Grand Knight for the Knights of Columbus, District Deputy, and was a fourth-degree member for The Bishop Delaney Assembly. Ken was a member of the VFW and both the Submarine Veterans Marblehead Base and International Submarine Veterans.

Ken and Donna traveled extensively to attend submarine reunions and Submarine Veterans Conventions. The family spent many vacations at the beach in Seabrook, NH and took ski trips to Bretton Woods, NH. One of Ken and Donna’s most memorable vacations was a 23-day trip to Ireland with Pat and John Mc Donald. But their best vacation was their 25th wedding anniversary celebration- three weeks in Hawaii on the islands of Oahu, Maui, and Hawaii.

By 2002, their children were launched. They had so much to look forward to- fun, vacations, and grandchildren. But this was not to be. That year, Donna was diagnosed with tongue cancer. For the next 13 years, Ken was Donna’s loving caregiver until she lost her battle to this deadly disease in 2015.

In 2016, Ken was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. His family, especially his daughters who lived nearby, rallied around him. He was cancer free for many years following the surgery and treatments.

Ken is survived by his son Christopher, his wife Pam, and grandson Jack from Marietta GA; son Russell Lydon, his wife Patty, and Ken’s granddaughter Delaney, grandson Nick and his great grandson Wyatt Russell Gustafson of Clifton Park NY; Catherine (Kati) Lydon Murphy, and grandsons Russell and Matthew of Billerica, and their father, James Murphy; and Jennifer Lydon Theodos, her husband Sean, and Ken’s grandson Sean of Wilmington. Ken is also survived by his sister, Margaret Russell Ciardi, and her husband Gregory of Northampton, MA. Also, sisters, Katherine Keenan and her husband, Robert of Easton, MA, and Susan Bulis and husband Ted of Sebastian FL. Ken is also survived by many cousins, nieces, and nephews.

Family and friends will gather for Visiting Hours at St. Thomas of Villanova Church, 126 Middlesex Ave., Wilmington, MA, on Monday, May 3rd from 9:45-11:45 a.m. immediately followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 12:00 noon. Interment with Military Honors will follow in Wildwood Cemetery, Wilmington, MA.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Ken’s memory to: Care Dimensions, 75 Sylvan Street, B-102, Danvers, MA 01923 or The New England Center and Home for Veterans, 17 Court St Boston, MA 02108.

Funeral arrangements are under the direction of the Nichols Funeral Home, Wilmington, MA. www.nicholsfuneralhome.com

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14 Entries in Guest Book for “Kenneth J. Lydon”

  1. Kevin P Doherty says:

    To Ken’s Family,

    Please know you are in my thoughts and prayers at this most difficult time.
    Ken served his country, loved and was loved by his family. He took his wedding vows seriously.
    Ken was ” A man among men”.
    I am a better person for knowing him, and calling him a friend.
    “Fair Winds and Following Seas” (ps I know he was in the Sub Service)
    Till we meet again.

    Godspeed,
    Kevin P. Doherty
    USN

  2. Mike Champoux says:

    Kenny’s passing is sad to be sure. I will miss just listening to him talk about his interesting life and his love & pride in his family. But, as sad as it is, it is also a celebration of a life well-lived and that he is now reunited with his wife. God Speed brother. Vivat Jesus.

  3. Lou says:

    PEACE

  4. Patrick Mastrorilli says:

    Deepest sympathy…

  5. Brad Homola says:

    Deepest sympathy and Ken was a great man and will be missed.

  6. Michael Meuse says:

    So sorry to hear of Ken’s passing. He was a great friend to my brother and will be sorely missed by his many friends.

  7. RAYMOND MERCURI says:

    I’ve known Ken and Donna for many, many years. Going back to the days of Pop Warner.
    Ken will be greatly missed at our weekly lunches with the Romeo Club.
    Rest in Peace.

  8. John Gerhartz says:

    To the Lydon family, Kris and I send our heart felt condolences to you all, your Dad was a great neighbor to us, love to talk to him when we saw him outside. and seeing him at the Knights. He will be sadly missed by us and all that knew him, keeping you all in our thoughts and prayers. John

  9. JOHN D KAVANAUGH says:

    KEN WAS HIMSELF SAID IT LIKE IT IS WHEN WE LOOSE SOMEONE LIKE KEN THEY ARE HARD TO REPLACE AND IN TODAYS WORLD WE NEED A LOT OF KENS I LOST A GREAT FRIEND

  10. Bob & Pat Kelly says:

    Ken you were an inspiration to us all Hard to replace. Rest in piece my brother

  11. Lisa Velozo says:

    Kati, I’m so sorry for the loss of your amazing dad.
    Please know that you and your family are in my prayers.
    Lisa Velozo XOXO

  12. Edward Ciampa says:

    I am a fellow Knight of Columbus of Ken. I remember him and want to wish his family my condolences and prayers at this most difficult time. Sincerely, Ed Ciampa.

  13. William “Bil” E. Battles III says:

    Kenny and I go back to the 9th Grade to Northeastern and right up to last week before he left us. We were hoping to get together this month when I come up to Mass from FL but it didn’t happen and although we talked every week, I wish I didn’t wait. Talked to him 2 days before we lost him and he was more concerned as to how we were doing and did we miss MA. Kenny and I were always religious and discussed our Religion, prayed for each other and friends and family that we knew needed our thoughts and prayers especially during the hardest time of his life next to his parents, his beautiful wife Donna.
    Kenny and I stayed close to our friends that we graduated with at HPHS and were planning another get together in May. At one point we were meeting every other Month. He will be missed but never forgotten. I could sit here and just keep on writing about my friend Kenny, what an Athlete, Veteran and loved his Country but I think we know that pretty well. He will be missed but never forgotten and Semper Fi my friend until we meet again. Bill

  14. Rice Family says:

    We were proud to know and love the Lydon family as true friends and great neighbors before moving to Florida & NH. We had many fun and memorable times the nature of which we have not come close to repeating in our lives here. We think so highly of Ken and Donna and the entire family they raised that we cannot find the words so we have borrowed these below from Samuel Smiles to try to express our honor for Ken and his entire family.
    “Character is property – it is the noblest of possessions.”
    “Although genius always commands admiration, character most secures respect. The Former is more the product of brain-power, the later of heart power: and in the long run it is the heart that rules in life. Men of genius stand to society in the relation of its intellect, as men of character of its conscience: and while the former are admired, the latter are followed.”
    “HOME is the first and most important school of character. It is there that every human being receives his best moral training, or his worst: for it is there that he imbibes those principles of conduct which endure through manhood, and cease only with life.”
    Ken’s character and heart is carried on through his children along with his good sense of humor.
    Thank God for Ken and his influence in our world. We know he will be sorely missed.
    With Love,
    Simone, LouAnn, Allyne and Kathy Rice

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