Theresa “Terry” E. (Cavanaugh) O'Reilly of Erie PA passed away peacefully surrounded by her family on Wednesday, October 30, 2019, at Westlake Woods Assisted Living where she resided over the past two years. She was 92. Theresa was born November 24th, 1926 in Brockport, N.Y. She was preceded in death by her parents, Philip and Susan (Queally) O'Reilly, loving sister, Ann O’Reilly Donavin, and former husband Thomas Cavanaugh. She is lovingly remembered by her four children, Karen Cavanaugh of Myanmar, Julie Hirt of Erie, Thomas( Bonnie) Cavanaugh of San Francisco, CA, Mary (John Monroe) Cavanaugh of Cleveland, OH and her grandchildren, Gabe, Emily, Thomas, Reilly, Aidan, and her adopted grandson Andrew; and her dearest friend, Sue Pierce.
In 1948, she graduated from Siena Heights University in Adrian, MI. with a degree in home economics. After graduation, she wrote for the Buffalo Evening News. Initially, she was a staff writer for the column entitled ‘Kitchen Counsel’; subsequently, she wrote under the pen name ‘Lucy Lincoln.’ In 1957 her marriage to Thomas Marcus Cavanaugh brought her to Erie, PA. where they were to build a home and raise a family of four in Millcreek. While in Erie, she taught home economics for the Erie School District. She also worked for the Office of Unemployment, the Booker T. Washington Center, and as a realtor.
Terry was a proud first generation Irish American and visited Ireland on several occasions to meet and spend time with her relatives. An independent and adventurous woman, Terry also traveled to Paris for fashion shows in her youth, and Bangladesh, China, and Egypt in her later years.
A lifelong member of the American Association of University Women (AAUW), Terry loved to garden, and to write poetry and short stories. She was environmentally progressive, being amongst the first to recycle and to adopt fuel efficient hybrid vehicles. She loved and cared for nature, especially the beach.
Terry moved from Erie to Clearwater Beach, Florida in the late 1980’s where she lived on and near the beach until the age of 90, when she moved back to Erie to be closer to family.
Friends may call at Scott Funeral Home, 2104 Myrtle Street, Saturday from 1 p.m. until the time of a Blessing Service there at 3 p.m. officiated by the Rev. Alex Amico. A graveside service will follow immediately at Trinity Cemetery, Erie PA.
Her children are thankful for the kindness of the staff at Westlake Woods Assisted Living, especially in Terry’s final days. Donations may be made in Terry's memory to Doctors Without Borders, PO Box 5030, Hagerstown, MD 21741-5030.
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