School 07

Phyllis Marie (O'Neil) Welch

September 26, 1934 ~ February 12, 2021 (age 86)


Phyllis Marie (O’Neil) Welch, 86, died February 12, 2021 at Day Brook Senior Living in Holyoke after a period of declining health and complications from Covid-19. Phyllis was born in Holyoke, MA on September 26, 1934 to Alice (Kane) O’Neil and Owen Francis O’Neil. Raised in Holyoke, Phyllis was a graduate of Holyoke High School, attained her Bachelor’s degree at the University of Massachusetts and her Master’s degree at American International College. In 1956 Phyllis began a lifelong career as a teacher beginning in the Holyoke and Springfield public school systems and moving to the Hadley public schools in 1970.  She was certified as a vocational teacher in 1958. Phyllis married Donald A. Welch on February 24, 1962 in Saint Jerome’s Church in Holyoke. Starting out in Holyoke, they moved to Easthampton, MA in 1967 where they shared a wonderful life until Don’s sudden death in 1980. The two were regulars at The Yankee Pedlar and The Log Cabin for many years. Phyllis enjoyed decorating her home for any occasion and always had the perfect table accent. A wonderful cook, she and Don hosted the family for Easter and Thanksgiving celebrations and welcomed friends for their infamous cocktail parties! Phyllis was the family historian and regaled us with many stories about growing up in Holyoke with her brother Owen “Richie” O’Neil and cherished cousins Ann (Greaney) Lockhart, Clare O’Hara, and Mary (O’Hara) Herbert.  Phyllis retired from Hopkins Academy in September 1995 and enjoyed a long, happy retirement.  She kept in touch with childhood friends Noni, Nancy and Maureen, college roommates Bea, Bette, and Lois, and friends from her years teaching at Hopkins Academy. She enjoyed pageantry and ceremony including listening to Don sing at Midnight Mass, going to the theater with friends and sharing High Tea at the Ritz with her nieces. She kept a busy social schedule and was great company. Fiercely loyal to her family and friends, she was a generous, kind woman with a good sense of humor who always had a story and a glass of champagne to share. She will be missed by all who knew her. In addition to her husband and her parents, Phyllis was predeceased by her brother and sister-in-law Owen R. & Mary (Burns) O’Neil, her cousins, her sister-in-law and great friend, Ellie Welch, her nephew David Welch, and her grand-nephew Aidan Smith. She is survived by her brother’s children and their families: Eileen Miller and her husband David of Brewster, MA, Kathleen Cicero and her husband Roberto of Springfield, MA, Theresa O’Neil and her wife Pamela Copeland of Northampton, MA, Maura O’Neil of Wilbraham, MA, Siobhan O’Neil-Smith and her husband Jack of Springfield, MA, and Owen P. O’Neil and his wife Renee of Macungie, PA. She is also survived by the extended Welch family including Tim Welch and his wife Carol of New Canaan, CT, Patti Welch (David deceased) of Holyoke, MA, and Mary Dearman and her husband Gary of Holyoke, MA. The family would like to thank the staff at Day Brook Village for the care and compassion they offered to Phyllis over the last two years.  We are grateful for their support especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. Relatives and friends are invited to a Mass of Christian Burial for Phyllis on Saturday, February 20th at 11 am in Saint Jerome Church, 169 Hampden Street. Burial will follow in Saint Jerome Cemetery. There are no calling hours. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Riverside Industries in Easthampton, MA or Cooley Dickinson VNA and Hospice in Northampton, MA.


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Mass of Christian Burial
February 20, 2021

11:00 AM
Saint Jerome Church (Hampden Street, Holyoke)

February 20, 2021

St. Jerome Cemetery, Holyoke

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