Anna Mary Hagerty died at her home of the last four years in Fredericksburg, Va., on Nov. 20, 45 years to the day that her son Billy was killed in Viet Nam. She was 96.
Nan, as she was called, was born August 14, 1916 to Thomas Kehoe and Emma Hann Kehoe of Hingham and was the youngest of seven children. When Nan was two her mother died in the influenza epidemic of 1918. Her father then traveled to Prince Edward Island, married and brought back Emma’s older sister Mary, who lovingly reunited the family.
Nan graduated in 1934 from Hingham High School, where she was voted by her class as most likely to go to Hollywood for her sense of wit and humor. She married William F. Hagerty in 1940, whom she met while employed as a waitress at Ye Olde Mill Grille in Hingham. He was employed at the Railway Express Agency in Weymouth, then transferred to Martha’s Vineyard in 1949 as agent in a temporary position, but stayed for the rest of his life.
Nan had much to do. She became an employee of the Railway Express Agency. She did the hard work of her husband’s refinishing and cabinet-making business. She baked, sewed, embroidered wonderful old-fashioned baby quilts, babysat, and adult-sat when they had such a program at the old, old Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. Three bears made from old fur coats won her a blue ribbon at the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Fair, but her most important job was being a mother to her five children and many grandchildren.
She was frugal, generous, a good friend and a hard worker who remained strong and determined, walking everywhere because she never wanted a driver’s license. At age 91 she was raking leaves at her home on Causeway Road in the late afternoon of November 2007. She fell and broke her hip and spent the night outside, not found for 15 hours until her neighbor, Frank Daly happened to see her. Asked how she endured the night, even as it rained, she said: “I just went along with it.” That is the sum of our good mother’s acceptance of life.
She loved her church, her friends and neighbors, the Thrift Shop, home and her animals. When Tisbury animal control officer John Rogers would get incorrigible dogs for placement he would know to give them to our mother, and Nan would prevail. She would make a grave for the dogs herself after a long and good life with her.
When life on her own became more difficult she consented to move with family to Virginia, but she always wanted to go home. She said so just days before she died. So she is now home.
Survivors include her children Jean Francis and husband Kenneth of Fredericksburg, Va., Joan Duggan and her husband William of Pomfret, Conn., and Robert Hagerty of Edgartown; grandchildren Kenneth Francis Jr. of Spotsylvania County, Va., Karin Cassidy of Fredericksburg, Va., William Francis of Rehoboth, William Duggan of Mystic, Conn., Anthony Duggan of London, England, James Hagerty of Washington, D.C., Channing Hagerty of Edgartown, Daniel Hagerty of Cambridge, Elizabeth Hagerty of Marion, N.C., and Jennifer Hagerty of Quincy; 17 great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by her husband William F. Hagerty in 1994, her son William Thomas Hagerty in 1967, her daughter Janet Hagerty in 2001, and her siblings, Thomas, Edna, Charles, Joseph, Helen and Marguerite, long ago.
A funeral mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 17, at St. Augustine’s Church in Vineyard Haven. Interment will be at the Oak Grove Cemetery in Vineyard Haven. Her family would like to invite all to a reception at the Portuguese American Club following the burial.
In lieu of flowers, donations in her name may be made to The Good Shepherd Parish of Martha’s Vineyard, P.O. Box 1058, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568.