Joann M. “Mama” (Regele) O’Leary Morrissey, 89, of Auburn, passed away after a brief illness on Monday, July 6, 2020 surrounded by her family at the UMass-Memorial Medical Center.
Joann was predeceased by her husband Joseph E “Joe” Morrissey Jr., who died in 2017. Her first husband John J. O’Leary passed away in 1969.
Joann is survived by 11 children: Kathy Flanders and her husband Gary of Worcester, Michael O’Leary of Worcester, John O’Leary and his wife Nancy of Reading, PA, Patricia O’Leary of Ludlow, Daniel O’Leary and his wife Ruth of Reading, PA, Mary Cutting and her husband Jim of Auburn, Joseph O’Leary and his life partner Bethany of Reading, PA, Cathy Morrissey of Worcester, Ellen Paladino and her husband Robert of Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, Diane Mara and her husband Paul of Auburn, and Joseph Morrissey III of Auburn. She is also survived by her brother Jack Regele and his wife Betty of Holden. Mama took pride in being a “cool grandmother” to Matt, Patti, Amy, Kate, Joey, Jimmy, Kelly, Jackie, Colleen, Molly, Natalie, Joey, Delia, and PJ. She also leaves 3 great-grandchildren whom she adored, and many nieces and nephews.
Joann was born in Worcester, daughter of Charles and Agnes (Shea) Regele.
Joann graduated salutatorian from of St. Peter’s High School and Worcester State Teachers College. She was a teacher for many years at the Julia Bancroft School in Auburn. After her teaching career, she managed the O’Leary Express trucking company while raising her children.
Joann enjoyed travelling. She had a few favorite places including St. Martin in the Caribbean and Delray Beach, Florida. She was an avid sports fan, holding season tickets to the Celtics and Patriots for many years. Everyone who knew her appreciated her fiery wit, honesty, and sense of humor, often shared at her favorite bars, restaurants, and family gatherings.
The family extends their gratitude to the many friends and family who have reached out and shared their favorite stories during this difficult time. Mama touched the lives of so many people. She was one of kind, a true matriarch, and we will cherish the memories she left with us forever.
Following Covid19 guidelines including masks and distancing, there are calling hours on Thursday, July 9, from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Athy Memorial Home, 111 Lancaster St., Worcester.
There will be a graveside service Friday, July 10, at 10 a.m. in St. John’s Cemetery, 260 Cambridge St., Worcester.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Joann’s may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, 309 Waverly Oaks Road, Waltham, MA 02452.