Neighborhood favorite Conroy remembered by community

Neighborhood favorite Conroy remembered by community

Longtime Cumberland resident Muriel Conroy, who died on Jan. 7, is being remembered by family, friends, and neighbors from the Rolling Acres Drive neighborhood, where she lived since 1968, for her kindness and generosity. 

CUMBERLAND – Longtime Cumberland resident Muriel Conroy was the type of person who made friends everywhere she went, and since her death on Jan. 7, many people have been feeling her absence, say her loved ones.

Conroy, 79, who lived in the Rolling Acres Drive neighborhood since 1968, is being remembered by her family, friends, and neighbors for her kindness, generosity, smile, and much more.

The wife of John Conroy Jr. for 56 years, Conroy, who died from a hemorrhagic stroke, grew up in Central Falls, attended Notre Dame High School and Our Lady of Fatima School of Practical Nursing in North Providence, and lived in Pawtucket before moving to Cumberland, according to her obituary. She worked as a nurse and dental assistant for 30 years before her retirement.

In addition to her husband, she is survived by her three children, Patricia Walsh and her husband Timothy, John Conroy III and his wife Sheila, and Kristen Lagasse and her husband Jeff, as well as eight grandchildren.

“She knew everybody,” Marissa Tomasetti, of Lincoln, Conroy’s oldest grandchild, told The Breeze, adding that it’s been said that her grandmother made the neighborhood “like a storybook” and was the neighborhood nurse.

“She’s the most generous person you’ve ever met,” Tomasetti said. “She cared about literally everybody.” If you told her you did a push-up yesterday, she’d send you a card for it, she added.

Tomasetti said she talked to her grandmother daily. “She was pretty much my best friend,” she said. “It’s been tough not talking to her every day.”

Conroy’s son, John Conroy III, told The Breeze that his mother was the type of person who was proud of her family and kept tabs on what was going on in everyone’s life, always sending notes and letters. “She touched so many people’s lives in this way,” he said.

She called her loved ones often and took many, many photographs; according to her obituary, she had 38,461 pictures on her phone.

Conroy, unofficially, delivered papers for The Valley Breeze, grabbing an entire stack and handing them out to family, friends, and people she met, her son added. “It was an opportunity to reach out and say hi to people (and) learn about them, see how they’re doing,” he said.

Conroy and her husband would also go out to dinner all the time, including to local spots such as Davenport’s and Angelo’s Palace Pizza, where they became like family to the staff and Conroy would talk to strangers, learn their life story, and how she might be connected to them, he said. The couple also made lasting friends with people they met on vacation.

Her daughter, Patricia Walsh, said her mother had contemplated becoming a nun early on in her life and lived as close to being a nun without being a nun. “She made a great positive impact on everyone she met,” she said.

She said her mother made a big impact in the neighborhood and was like a second mother and grandmother to some. “She touched many people’s lives,” she said.

Her children said they’re going to miss everything about their mother, from her checking in on them to her advice. She connected everyone, her daughter Kristen Lagasse said.

Many people attended her funeral, held last Thursday, Jan. 14, both in person and virtually, said Tomasetti, who delivered the eulogy. The priest who delivered the Mass, Joe Mazzone, also grew up in the neighborhood and knew the Conroys.

In a Facebook group for the Rolling Acres Neighborhood, Gregory Ferland posted about Conroy’s death, which garnered responses from neighbors throughout the years. Ferland noted that his family lived on Mendon Road, and their property was connected to the Conroys. The families became lifelong friends, and Ferland said his parents and Muriel and Joe Conroy would regularly go out to dinner before the pandemic.

“That is a true testament to what a good neighborhood Rolling Acres was,” he wrote. “Lifelong friendships.”

Carol Miller responded to the post and said, “Muriel always had a smile, and whenever I would see her around Cumberland we always had a nice visit.”

Laurie Morelle, who sometimes babysat for the Conroys when the children were little, said, “Mrs. Conroy was always a bright light. Her sweet smile, warm eyes and cheerfulness is what I will always remember. She was always so kind and welcoming. … I grew up admiring this little lady full of energy and love.”

For Susan Ryan Froment, whose family lived across the street from the Conroys at one point, said, “Mrs. Conroy has always been so kind, so warm and friendly and always asked how the kids were doing. Her beautiful smile and outgoing personality made her a neighborhood favorite.”

Comments

Anyone who grew up in Rolling Acres and was attending Cumberland Hill during the Blizzard of’78 will remember Mrs. Conroy greeting us all when the bus left us off on Mendon Rd. because it was too dangerous to drive down the hill. None of us were dressed for snow. She invited us all into her house and let us wait until our moms could walk up with boots and mittens. I was in first grade and I remember her act of kindness like it was yesterday. Such a warm person with a friendly face from my childhood. So glad to see her remembered this way here. Sincere sympathies to her family. – Amy Tomei Goggin