Florence Anne Daly Bavaro, 83, died peacefully in Portland, Maine on June 26 after a short bout with lung cancer that followed many years of living a robust life in spite of a multiple sclerosis diagnosis.
She was born in Waltham, Massachusetts on December 14, 1936, the daughter of William Michael Daly of Maine and Loretta Mulry Daly of Rhode Island.
She grew up in Uxbridge, Massachusetts, and enjoyed entertaining her children, when they were young, with detailed stories of the olden days: ice deliveries on hot summer afternoons, the soda fountain at her father’s drugstore, bus lines that could take you all the way to Boston and Providence, and a phone number that was “422, ring 2.”
She graduated from St. Mary’s High School in Milford, Massachusetts, and attended The St. Elizabeth Hospital School of Nursing in Brighton, Massachusetts. One day she was stopped by a state police officer for speeding. When he gave her a warning, she laughed and sped off again. He stopped her a second time, asked her out, and she married Vito J. Bavaro of Woburn, Massachusetts, in 1957. She and her husband moved to Milford, Massachusetts where she founded the Greenleaf Garden Club, participated in community chorus and theater programs, and raised six children. As a young mother, she delighted in pranking her kids at bedtime, at various times disguising herself as the Sandman, the March Hare, and Peter Pan. She also made sure to wake them to witness comets, eclipses, and the 1969 moon landing.
She was a lifelong Democrat, champion of underdogs, and proponent of conservation. Her children remember her running into the yard to raise her fist to the sky and shout at the small planes that dumped DDT over neighborhoods in the 1960s.
In her thirties, she realized a writing ambition and became a reporter for the Milford Daily News. She reported on town government meetings for three decades before taking a job at Verizon in her later years. After her retirement, she moved to Scarborough, Maine to be near her daughter Kate.
She loved all living creatures and was never without a cat. Her last cat, Lily, preceded her in death by mere weeks. Other lifelong loves included books, birds, whales, the music of Arthur Fiedler’s tenure at the Boston Pops, the music performed by the Handel and Haydn Society, of which she was a longtime subscriber, and the activities of the Friends of the Boston Public Garden.
She is survived by her children: Catherine (Phil) O’Connor, Michael (Shammara) Bavaro, Daniel (Carol) Bavaro, Jay (Karen) Bavaro, Maryanne (Nick) O’Hara; her sister, Catherine Dirlam; grandchildren Melissa Klevans, Jillian Twisla, Molly O’Connor, Emily O’Connor, Jack Bavaro, Joe Bavaro, Ryan Bavaro, Sam Bavaro, Gabrielle Bavaro, Vanessa White, and Jarod White; and four great-grandchildren. She is predeceased by Vito Bavaro; one son, William Bavaro; one brother, William Daly; and one grandchild, Caitlin O’Hara.
In her memory, she would want to encourage acts of kindness to one another and for all humans to recognize the urgent necessity of caring for our planet and all of its creatures. She would also encourage the feeding of one’s own soul. She loved reciting poetry she had learned as a child, but one sentiment was always close to her heart, a line by John Greenleaf Whittier: “If thou of fortune be bereft, and in thy store there be but left, two loaves / sell one, and with the dole, buy hyacinths to feed thy soul.”
Florence’s Funeral will be held on Tuesday, June 30 at 11 am in St. Mary’s Church, 77 Mendon St., Uxbridge. Burial will follow in St. Mary’s Cemetery. A calling hour will be held prior to Mass from 9:30- 10:30 from Tancrell- Jackman Funeral Home, 35 Snowling Rd., Uxbridge. To leave a condolence message for her family please visit: www.Jackmanfuneralhomes.com
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