Obituaries Notices
Dean James Proyous Print E-mail

Dean James Proyous

Loving husband, father and grandfather
 Dean James Proyous, 70, of Westford, formerly of South Dartmouth, passed away peacefully with his devoted wife and daughter by his side at Lowell General Hospital. He was the beloved husband of Maryann (Morris) Proyous who survives him and with whom he just recently celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary on June 18th.
 Born in Fall River, Massachusetts, August 22, 1946, the son of the late James and the late Alexandra (Dardas) Proyous, he attended Fall River schools and was a graduate of Durfee High School in the Class of 1964. Eager to further his education, he then went on to graduate from Southeastern Massachusetts University (now known as U/Mass Dartmouth) with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Social Work and Human Services.
 Before retiring, Dean was employed by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as a Licensing Coordinator at the Department of Mental Health and Human Services in Wrentham for many years. Following his retirement, he worked for various private human service agencies.
 Very religious and active with the Transfiguration Greek Orthodox Church in Lowell, he served on the Board of Directors as Treasurer. He also created and helped to facilitate the church’s first Community Kitchen Ministries in which he served monthly luncheons to those in need in the Lowell community.
 Among his many interests, Dean enjoyed antiquing, coin collecting, listening to bluegrass music and loved reading historical books, most notably anything about Abraham Lincoln. He was an avid Patriots and Red Sox fan and had quite a vast collection of baseball memorabilia.
 Above all else though, Dean most cherished spending time with his family and dearest friends. He was treasured and will be remembered most for his calm, quiet, contented nature and his appreciation of peace and harmony and the simple blessings in life all around him. The saying, he could not hurt a fly, rang most true about Dean's spirit. He was a gentle soul and respected and could find value in ALL living things. He always did as much as he physically was able to do to help others, most especially his daughter and four grandchildren who adored him beyond any kind of measure. Seeing him and hearing his voice everyday has left such a huge void and wrenching pain in the lives of those closest to him 
 In addition to his wife Maryann, Dean is survived by his only daughter Andrea Shortsianitis and her husband Alec of Tyngsboro, MA; four grandchildren Theodora-Violet, William-Dean, Maryssa-Kate, and Elisabeth-Scarlet; and a sister Ann A. Proyous of Fall River, MA.
 There will be no calling hours. A Funeral Service will take place on Thursday, July 13th, 2017 at 11:00 A.M. at the TRANSFIGURATION GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH on Father John Sarantos Way in Lowell. Burial will follow at the Westlawn Cemetery in Lowell. E-condolences at In lieu of flowers, those wishing may make contributions in his memory to the Community Kitchen Ministries of the Transfiguration Greek Orthodox Church, 25 Fr. Sarantos Way, Lowell, MA 01854. Arrangements by the O’DONNELL FUNERAL HOME – (978) 458-8768.
Francis W. "Frank" Grady, P.E. Print E-mail

Francis W. “Frank” Grady, P.E.

Retired Lowell City Engineer
 Francis W. “Frank” Grady, P.E.,82, the retired City Engineer of Lowell, died peacefully in hospice care at the Palm Center in Chelmsford on July 3rd, 2017. He was the beloved husband of Ann M. (Cooney) Grady who survives him and with whom he celebrated their 59th wedding anniversary on April 12th of this year.
 A lifelong resident of Lowell, Frank was the son of the late G. Frank and Elizabeth (Burns) Grady. Residing in the Highlands section of Lowell in his early years, Frank was a member of the first graduating class of the former Saint Margaret’s Grammar School.  He graduated from Keith Academy in 1952 where he was a member of the school’s basketball and golf teams.  He attended Northeastern University, but withdrew after his co-op year to continue working for a Boston engineering company. 
 From 1955 to 1963, Frank worked for several Boston engineering consultant firms as a draftsman and highway and bridge designer before joining the Lowell Engineer’s office.  Under the auspices of the city of Lowell, he continued his education in the evening division of the former Lowell Technological Institute (now the University of Massachusetts-Lowell) where he earned his Associates Degree in Civil Engineering, graduating Magna Cum Laude. Following the death of City Engineer George McDonough in 1986, Frank was appointed to the position of City Engineer by then City Manager B. Joseph Tully, a position in which he served until his retirement in 1998, earning the respect and admiration of all with whom he came in contact.  Upon his retirement, the newly refurbished railroad bridge on Boylston Street was designated as the FRANK W. GRADY BRIDGE to honor his dedicated service to the city of Lowell. 
 An avid reader, Frank held a keen interest in reading anything related to military aviation and the World Wars and amassed an extensive collection of both history and historical fiction novels relating to this subject matter as well as a collection of pre-made scale models of various war planes.  In contrast, he enjoyed listening to the music of Mozart, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, and Mendelssohn, among others.  In his earlier years he enjoyed fresh water fishing and a friendly round of golf, having been a member of the Mount Pleasant Golf Club.
 In addition to his loving wife and best friend of 59 years, Frank is survived by a son Frank, Jr. and his wife Amy Pawl of Ladue, MO; two daughters, Annemarie Grady Bell of Londonderry, NH and Martha Abney and her husband Eric of Fremont, NH, eight grandchildren, Katelyn, Joshua and Sarah Bell, Spencer and Emma Grady-Pawl, and Bridget, Emily and Ian Abney.  He is also survived by his two brothers, Charles Grady of Lowell and George Grady and his wife Evelyn, also of Lowell, and his sister-in-law Rosemary (Cooney) Georges and her husband, Paul, of Florida and Maine.  Frank also leaves many nieces and nephews, several cousins and a host of good friends.
 He was predeceased by his sisters Joann (Josephine) Bergeron-Barry, and Mary Elizabeth Grady and his former son-in-law Robert R. Bell, Jr.
 Friends may call at the O’DONNELL FUNERAL HOME 276 PAWTUCKET ST. at Fletcher from 4 to 8 P.M. Friday. Relatives and friends are invited to attend his Funeral Mass to be celebrated Saturday morning at the IMMACULATE CONCEPTION CHURCH at 11 o’clock. Committal Services to follow at St. Mary Cemetery in Tewksbury. E-condolences/directions at Those wishing may make contributions in his memory to Alzheimer’s Association, 309 Waverly Oaks Rd, Waltham, MA 02452 or the Immaculate Conception Building Fund, 3 Fayette St, Lowell, MA 01852. Arrangements by Funeral Director James F. O’Donnell, Jr. (978) 458-8768.      
Helene M. Cronin Print E-mail

Helene M. Cronin

Beloved cousin and friend;
 Helene M. Cronin, age 96, of Lowell, MA passed away peacefully in Easton, Massachusetts on Saturday June 24, 2017.
 Born in Lowell, Massachusetts, December 19, 1920, the daughter of the late James H. and the late Isabel (Fairbrother) Cronin, she attended Lowell schools and was a graduate of Lowell High School Class of 1938. Helene continued her education with a degree from Simmons College in Boston.
 In a career which spanned over 30 years in the personal property insurance business, Helene was an insurance agent first with the Fred C. Church Insurance Agency in Lowell for several years then in the Boston area until her retirement. She also worked at the Museum of Fine Arts Membership Desk and was a volunteer at the JFK Library and American Cancer Society.
 Among her many interests, Helene enjoyed travels to the Far East, Scotland, Ireland, London and Hawaii.
 She leaves cousins, Mary (McCloskey) Ferguson, Susan McCloskey, Cathy Pollack, Amy Grucan, Gail Evans, John Evans, J. P. Evans and Helene’s beloved friend, John Kreckler.
 At her request all services were held privately. E-condolences at Those wishing may make contributions in her memory to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/The Jimmy Fund, P. O. Box 849168, Boston, MA 02284-9168 or Arrangements by the O’DONNELL FUNERAL HOME in LOWELL - (978) 458-8768.   
Robert H. Leighton, Jr. Print E-mail

Robert H. Leighton, Jr.

Loving husband, father, brother, uncle and true friend;
 Robert H. Leighton, Jr., 52, a resident of the Belvidere section of the City and a member of a well-known Lowell family, passed away peacefully after an 11 month courageous battle with pancreatic cancer. He was the beloved husband of Margaret (Downing) Leighton, with whom he would have celebrated their 27th wedding anniversary on September 29, 2017.
 Bob was a remarkable person who chose to embrace life when he was first diagnosed a little under a year ago. His positive attitude, infectious smile and joy for life carried his family and friends on a most incredible journey where all were welcome to be a part of it. To the very end, he fought the disease with passion, grace and dignity. Bob truly was an inspiration to all and will be deeply missed by those who had the pleasure to know him.
 He was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, September 4, 1964, a son of the late Robert H. and the late Violet (Rigoli) Leighton and was a communicant of the Immaculate Conception Church.
 Bob attended Lowell schools and was a graduate of Austin Preparatory High School in 1982. He went on to attend Boston College where he received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Science and Business Management from the Carroll School of Management, Class of 1986.
 A Certified Insurance Counselor for over 25 years, Bob began his career working with his father at Norcross and Leighton, Inc. where he served first, as an operations manager, then Vice President and Treasurer and finally as President and Owner.
 After Bob sold the business, he remained in the Insurance industry for many years and prior to his retirement, he served as Assistant Vice President of Insurance Operations and IT for several years with Salem Five Insurance Services, LLC.
 The combination of Bob’s advanced computer skills, business training and insurance background made him a highly regarded specialist in integrating insurance with computer programing. He also maintained his Licenses in Massachusetts for both Property and Casualty as well as Life, Accident and Health.
 Bob was very active and generous in the community as a member and leader of several charitable, civic, health and business organizations. A longtime member of the Board of Directors of the Merrimack Repertory Theatre, Girls Incorporated, and the House of Hope, he was a proud Trustee and Corporator at Lowell General Hospital for many years.
 He also served over the years with the Greater Merrimack Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Lowell Office of Cultural Affairs and the Greater Lowell Chamber of Commerce.
 However, Bob’s success was not limited to his professional accomplishments. At his heart, Bob was a people person who was kind, generous and thoughtful.
 His greatest joy was being with his family and friends, entertaining those he loved, spending time at Seabrook Beach, or on his boat, the “No Fault”. He was a loyal and true friend.
 Besides his wife Margaret, Bob is survived by his pride and joy, his three sons, whom he loved dearly and was very proud of: Andrew R. Leighton, David M. Leighton and Matthew D. Leighton all of Lowell; his brother Douglas H. Leighton and his wife Ilana of Boston; his sister Beth Britt of Yarmouth, MA; two dear brothers-in- laws Timothy F. Downing and his wife Lynn of Sammamish, WA and Edward A. Downing and his wife Jacqueline of Wakefield; many nieces, nephews, uncles, aunts, cousins and dear friends.
 Friends may call at the O’DONNELL FUNERAL HOME 276 PAWTUCKET ST. at Fletcher from 4 to 8 P.M. Wednesday. Relatives and friends are invited to attend his Funeral Mass to be celebrated Thursday morning at the IMMACULATE CONCEPTION CHURCH at 11 o’clock. Committal Services to follow at the Lowell Cemetery. E-condolences/directions at Those wishing may make contributions in his memory to the Lowell General Hospital Cancer Center, c/o Philanthropy Office, 295 Varnum Ave., Lowell, MA 01854 or the House of Hope, 812 Merrimack St., Lowell, MA 01854. Arrangements by Funeral Director James F. O’Donnell, Jr. (978) 458-8768.      
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