Obituary: Kathy Olohan, 78

| December 26, 2020

Posted Dec. 26, 2020

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STOW: Carmelita Catherine (“Kathy”) Olohan nee Ryan, age 78, passed away in her home in Stow, Mass. on Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020, surrounded by her loving family.

She was born on Jan. 3, 1942 to Thomas Patrick and Helen (Clouse) Ryan in Somerset, Ohio. Kathy, known as Kate in her youth, grew up on her family’s cattle farm. She loved riding her horses bareback on the farm as a girl and treasured the lifelong friendships she formed with the brothers and priests of the Dominican Order at the novitiate at nearby St. Joseph’s Priory. Kathy graduated with a BA from Ohio Dominican University and then obtained a Masters in English from Indiana University. After graduation, she taught in the Indianapolis public school system and had a great impact on her students, some of whom she corresponded with up until her death.

She married William A. Olohan (Bill) of Dublin, Ireland in June, 1965 and together they had ten children. She loved Bill dearly and was devoted to him throughout his many years of illness until his death in 2001. Kathy left the classroom and dedicated herself to raising her nine children. (Her son, Michael, was born prematurely and died just two days after he was born. Michael’s birth and death had a profound impact on the entire Olohan family.) The family moved to Stow in 1975, and in 1981, she bought the Stow Villager where she was the writer, editor and publisher. Her editorials were known for their strong positions, well-crafted arguments, and influence in town.

She was an early leader in the pro-life movement in Massachusetts, and volunteered for many years at Birthright, a pregnancy counselling center. For a number of years, she would invite pregnant women who had nowhere to live to come live in her home until their babies were born and they were able to stabilize their situation. This eventually led to the establishment of Spring House in Berlin Mass., a home for women in crisis pregnancies, in 1993. Kathy was the Director of Spring House until 2000, and helped numerous women find shelter, educational and work opportunities, love, and support when the world turned them away. 

In addition to her work at Spring House, Kathy was also very active in teaching religious education at her parish, and was the Director of CCD at Christ the King Church in Hudson for many years. Following the death of her husband Bill, Kathy returned to teaching, and she taught French and religion at Lowell Catholic before retiring due to the onset of leukemia (CLL). She spent the remaining years of her life devoted to her children and sixty-four (64) grandchildren. She never missed a birthday of any of her children or grandchildren, and would often mark birthdays with a beautiful poem.

An accomplished pianist, she always enjoyed playing piano with her family. Family get-togethers were never complete without music and singing.

A lifelong devout Catholic, Kathy was a daily communicant and attended Mass at St. Benedict Abbey in Still River, Mass. She was a Third Order Dominican and was active in the work of the local chapter. She will be buried wearing the habit of the Third Order. 

Kathy was a strong yet unassuming woman whose focus was on other people, never herself. She actively corresponded not only with her family but with countless friends and even strangers from all walks of life. The motto she chose for her family and which is on her tombstone, Veritatis in Caritate–to live the truth in love — exemplified her life.

She is revered and deeply loved by all her family who miss her terribly. Kathy is survived by five sons: William Olohan and wife Michelle of Southlake, Texas, Thomas Olohan and wife Jane of Warrenton, Virginia, Daniel Olohan and wife Mary Kate of Walpole Massachusetts, John Olohan and wife Molly of Weymouth, Massachusetts, Ryan Olohan and wife Anne of Montville, New Jersey; three daughters: Catherine Kelly and husband William of Potomac, Maryland, Sheila Beirne and husband Gerard of Stow, Massachusetts, Margaret Sweatman and husband Thomas of Rockville, Maryland; and son-in-law Dave Flanders. She is survived by sixty three (63) grandchildren; her brother, Tim Ryan of Somerset, Ohio, and her sister, Sister Maria of the Eucharist (Polly Ryan) of Miami, Florida. Kathy was predeceased by her husband, William Olohan, son Michael Olohan, daughter Maria Flanders, granddaughter Sheila Catherine Beirne, and sisters Peggy and Constance Ryan. 

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, January 5, 2021, at Saint John the Guardian of Our Lady Parish, 80 Union Street, Clinton, MA 01510 with burial to follow in St. Bridget’s Cemetery, Great Road, Maynard. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, there will be no wake. 

In lieu of flowers, donations in Kathy’s memory may be made to St. Benedict Abbey, 252 Still River Road, Still River, MA 01467, or to Dominican Friars, Dominican Foundation, 141 East 65th Street, New York, NY 10065-6699.

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