Otilia Z. Castro Print E-mail

Otilia Z. Castro


Otilia Z Castro, 90, of Lowell, Massachusetts passed away on Friday, May 24, 2024, surrounded by loved ones.

She was one of nine children born to the late Adolpho Castro and Carmen Zapata on September 14, 1933, in La Ceja, Colombia.

Affectionately called “Chilly” by all those who knew and loved her, she came to Lowell, Massachusetts in 1965 with her son Orlando (Vespin) Castro. A brave and determined mother who wanted her son to have a better education, she moved to the United States to work for a family she had never met.  For 56 years, Chilly cared for the home and children of Nancy and Richard Donahue, loving their children as if they were her own.  She cherished their son Philip Donahue most dearly, making sure that he had all his favorite foods and especially French toast on Saturdays.

Chilly enjoyed tending a large vegetable garden in the summers, usually splitting half the harvest with the local woodchucks and rabbits. She worked magic on indoor plants as well, regularly reviving the failing plants given to her care, and returning a thriving version to its amazed owner.

She was a fantastic travel companion and enjoyed trips to Germany, England, Ireland and the Grand Canyon, including a 75th birthday trip to Italy with Alicia Donahue and sister Nancy.  A big fan of music, she had a large CD collection. She saw Tina Turner and stood for an entire Rolling Stones show.

When her memory started to fade, she moved to assisted living where her adventuresome spirit led to new passions of painting and crafting.  Under the careful watch of Michelle Jimeno, Chilly learned to swim. Two weeks before her death, Michelle took her kayaking for the first time.  She was loved by Magda Siotis who brought Chilly a coffee every morning to start the day in her favorite way. Her family thanks the community at the Atrium of Drum Hill for the care and companionship she received.

She will be dearly missed by all who know her.  She is survived by her son Vespin (Debra Saxe) of Winter Haven, FL.  She is also survived by Donahue family members Nancy L. of Lowell, Abigail (Scott) Morris of Kirkland, WA, Timothy (Jenni) of Parkland, OR, Michael (Beth) of Lowell, Nancy C. of NY, Richard (Rosita) of Portsmouth, NH, Daniel of Lowell, Stephen (Meg McGovern) of Burlington VT, Christopher of Vero Beach, FL, Tara Gabriel (Jorge) of Tyngsboro, MA, Philip of Lowell and Alicia of Dunstable, MA.  She had sixteen Donahue grandchildren and two great grandchildren who called her Gramma Chilly.  She is also survived by her siblings in Colombia: Marta, Amanda and Pacho Castro.
Chilly anticipated a joyful reunion with those who preceded her in death, her parents, sister Mela, and brothers Jose, Jesus, Gustavo, Ramon, and Juan Antonio.

Family and friends are invited to her Memorial Funeral Mass to be held on Saturday, June 8, 2024, at 10 o’clock in the morning at St. Patrick’s Church 282 Suffolk Street, Lowell, MA. E-condolences/directions at www.odonnellfuneralhome.com. If you would like to contribute in her honor, Chilly loved RARA 295 High Street, Lowell, MA and Mill City Grows 650 Suffolk St g10, Lowell, MA. Arrangements are by the O’DONNELL FUNERAL HOME, 276 PAWTUCKET ST. LOWELL - MA - (978) 458-8768.

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