Obituaries Notices
Chakeep G. "Sharkey" Skaff Print E-mail

Chakeep G. “Sharkey” Skaff

Loving husband, father, grand father, brother and uncle.

Chakeep G. “Sharkey” Skaff of Lowell, died Friday, December 21st at D’Youville Senior Care Center in Lowell two day after his 86th birthday.  He was the beloved husband of Laurence (Kach) Skaff who survives him and with whom he celebrated their 56th wedding anniversary on October 14th of this year.

Born in Lowell, Massachusetts, December 19, 1932, the son of the late George S. and the late Naffie (Bardwell) Skaff, he attended Lowell schools and was a graduate of Lowell High School with the class of 1950.  He then went on to attend Boston University.

Sharkey proudly served his country during the Korean Conflict in the U.S Army.

Before retiring, Sharkey was self-employed as owner of Skaff Realty in Lowell.  He was also the former owner of the Triangle Store in North Chelmsford, Kennedy’s Butter & Eggs in Lowell and was a Supervisor with Symphonic.

He was an active member of the church in which he grew up, St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Lowell. He served as an altar boy, the building manager for over 30 years and president of the Parish Council.  He was also ordained as a sub-deacon of the church.

Among his many interests he was a member of the St. Ignatius Club where he received a special Certificate of Meritorious Service. He was member of the Masonic Lodge in Lowell.

Sharkey was self-made and self-reliant. From his education to his career, and his skill with every kind of tool that could fashion wood or metal, brick or cement, Sharkey engaged with the world as a man who would be its master. He dedicated his life to his family and his faith.

In addition to his wife Laurence, Sharkey is survived by his son George E. Skaff and his partner Leta McDonald of Methuen, MA; his daughter Nicole M. Skaff and her husband David Moulton of Newbury, MA; his daughter-in-law Lisa (Puls) Skaff of Lowell, MA; two granddaughters Lily L. and Sara J. Skaff both of Lowell, MA; his three sisters Alice David of Toledo, OH, Vivian Puopolo of Dedham, MA, and Shirley George and her husband Ernest of Worcester, MA; and many cousins, nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews.

He was predeceased by his son Stephen S. Skaff and two sisters, the late Jeannette MacKoul and the late Dorothy Deeb.

SKAFF – Friends will be received on Friday at ST. GEORGE ANTIOCHIAN CHURCH in Lowell from 4 to 7 P.M. followed by his Funeral Service in the Church at 7:00 o’clock. His Burial Prayers will be celebrated on Saturday morning at the Church at 10 o’clock followed by burial in the Westlawn Cemetery. E-condolences/directions at www.odonnellfuneralhome.com. Those wishing may make contributions in his memory to St. George Antiochian Church, 44 Bowers St, Lowell, MA 01854. Arrangements by the O’DONNELL FUNERAL HOME – LOWELL (978) 458-8768.

 
Robert V. Gervais Print E-mail

Robert V. Gervais

President of the Gervais Auto Group and Wall Street Realty;

Robert V. Gervais, 87, of Lowell, a member of a well-known Lowell family, died peacefully Friday evening December 21, 2018 at Lowell General Hospital – Saints Campus surrounded by his loving family.

He was the beloved husband for 55 years of Ann (Reilly) Gervais, who survives him.

Born in Lowell, Massachusetts, August 12, 1931, a son of the late John J. and the late Margaret (Reynolds) Gervais, he attended Lowell schools and was a graduate of Lowell High Class of 1950.

A veteran of the Korean War, Bob proudly served his country as a member of the U.S. Army.

Active in the automotive industry for most of his life, Bob was the President of both the Gervais Auto Group and Wall Street Realty Trust.

Previously he was also the President of Shawprint in Lowell, MA and was a sales executive for the Maremont Corporation in Chicago.

Bob was the Chairman of the former Lowell City Development Corporation. In addition he served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the previous St. John’s Hospital/Saints Memorial Medical Center (nka Lowell General Hospital – Saints Campus) and Lowell Day Nursery.  He was an honorary member of Vesper Country Club.

Bob grew up as part of a large family, but his family grew beyond his immediate relatives, as his employees, business associates and customers became part of his extended family.  Many of those individuals working with Bob for many years.  Bob was always looking for ways to further educate himself on people and the world around him.  He would read three to four newspapers a day, and reveled in the opportunity to debate current events and politics with friends and family.  He loved dogs, a good steak, a fine party and time on the water.  He was a loyal friend who took pride in his work and the opportunity it afforded him to help others. 

Besides his wife Bob is survived by three children Peter R. Gervais and his wife Lisa of Dunstable, Sally G. Beck and her husband Michael of Westford and Richard L. Gervais and his wife Ellen of Andover; seven grandchildren Katarina Gervais, Andrew Beck, Christina Beck, Peter Beck, Grace Gervais, Jack Gervais and Ethan Gervais; a sister Janet (Gervais) Reilly of Peterborough; his in-laws Norma (Kenyon) Gervais of Chelmsford, Maureen (Reardon) Gervais of Lowell, Melvin Pfeiffer of Amherst, NH and Grace (Reilly) Conway of Westford; many nieces, nephews, grandnieces and nephews.

Bob was also predeceased by a son Robert V. Gervais, Jr. and his siblings John J. Gervais, Jr., Philip Gervais, Stephen Gervais, Judith Pfeiffer and David Gervais.

Relatives and friends are invited to attend his Funeral Mass to be celebrated Friday morning at the IMMACULATE CONCEPTION CHURCH at 12 o’clock Noon followed by burial in St. Mary Cemetery in North Tewksbury. E-condolences/directions at www.odonnellfuneralhome.com. Those wishing may make contributions in his memory to RARA – Recreational Adult Resource Association, 295 High St., Lowell, MA 01852. Arrangements by the O’DONNELL FUNERAL HOME – LOWELL (978) 458-8768.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Ann M. O'Donnell Print E-mail

Ann M. O’Donnell

Visionary, Pioneer and Advocate in Bilingual Education

Lowell- Ann M. (Muras) O’Donnell, matriarch of the Thomas J. O’Donnell family, passed away on Friday December 21, 2018 at the age of 94 surrounded by her family.  A well-respected and dedicated educator and administrator for the Lowell Public Schools, Ann was the Director of the Bilingual Program when she retired on August 31, 2002 at the age of 78.  

Ann was the loving wife of the late Attorney Thomas J. O’Donnell of Lowell, who died on June 22, 1993.  The couple met while working in Houston, Texas and was married on January 7, 1950 in Ann’s hometown of Shiner, Texas. Their four children were raised in Lowell; an immigration destination spanning two centuries where the enduring resolve of Lowell's working class families continues to produce recognized leaders as businessmen, entrepreneurs and politicians.  Ann and Tom cherished their relationships with Tom's Lowellian relatives and in-laws; the late James and Kay O'Donnell, Dr. Brendan and Mary Josephine Leahey, and Thomas and Eileen Casey. 

Born in Shiner, Texas, Ann was the proud daughter of Joseph and Philomena Muras. Joseph was born in Frenstat pod Radhostem, Czechoslovakia immigrated to the United States, met and married Philomena Palitza from Moulton, Texas. He established his own insurance agency, which focused on insuring the European immigrants from Czechoslovakia and Poland who settled in the surrounding towns of Lavaca County in Texas.  Joseph wrote insurance policies that were drafted on a specially made typewriter using Czech characters so his clients could read and understand their insurance coverage.  Ann’s father’s success in bridging a language barrier would undoubtedly influence her later career choice in assisting second language students settling in Lowell.

Ann graduated from St. Ludmilla’s Academy in Shiner, Texas as the class salutatorian.  She attended Incarnate Word College in San Antonio and later transferred to the University of Houston where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. Ann began her thirty-five year career in the Lowell Public Schools serving language minority students in 1966, five years as a Title I Remedial Reading/ESL teacher and thirty as the Supervisor/Director of the Transitional Bilingual Education (TBE) and ESL (English as a Second Language) Programs.  She served under seven Superintendents of Schools.

During 1971-72, Ann was the Head Teacher and Acting Principal of the Tenth Street School directing the last year of the TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language Programs) funded by Title I.  With the passage of Chapter 71A of the Massachusetts General Laws, the Lowell Public Schools implemented programs of Transitional Bilingual Education for Hispanic and Portuguese Limited English Proficient (LEP) students in September 1972.  Full TBE Programs for Cambodian, Laotian, and Vietnamese students were instituted in September 1985.  A Bilingual Program for Gujarati students was established in September 1994.

With the dramatic influx of Southeast Asian students into the school district during the 1980s, classroom space was leased in the former Franco American and St. Joseph and Sacred Heart Elementary Schools, the Lowell Boys Club, and the YMCA, resulting in a class action lawsuit brought against the school district.  Ann assisted Project Director George N. Tsapatsaris in developing and implementing the Lowell Public Schools Voluntary Desegregation Plan, which was adopted by the Lowell School Committee in 1987 as a consent agreement.  Bilingual/ESL classes were assigned to the majority of schools; the Parent Information Center was established where enrolling K-8 students were identified, assessed, and assigned; additional staff was hired; and many other initiatives enforced to comply.

Ann established and maintained a MASTER PAC (Parent Advisory Council) to the Bilingual Program as well as Spanish, Portuguese, Cambodian, Laotian, Vietnamese, and Gujarati Parent Advisory Committees, which assisted parents in understanding District Policies and Procedures.  PAC meetings were often conducted on the weekends in homes, churches and schools in the community. 

A prolific grant writer, Ann co-authored/directed numerous State and Federal Grants which supplemented the School District’s initiatives in educating 3,000 Limited English Proficient Students enrolled in the K-12 TBE Program. She authored/co-authored/directed nine U.S. Department of Education Title VII competitive grants, the first, “HAND-IN-HAND” (MANO-A-MANO), funded a Bilingual Pre-School Learning Center for three, four, and five year old Hispanic, Portuguese, and English dominant students.  It was one of the first Early Childhood Bilingual Programs funded nationwide in 1975.

Project LOWELL, a five year grant funded in the mid 1980s was crucial to the School Department’s efforts in meeting the educational needs of newly enrolled Southeast Asian students.  The Grant funded a Curriculum Coordinator; Cambodian, Laotian, and Vietnamese Curriculum Developers; Cambodian and Laotian Parent Liaisons, and other support staff.

Ann assisted in implementing the MICAS (Metropolitan Indochinese Children’s and Adolescent Services) Program, which provided counseling to Asian teens at Lowell High School.

Project IMPACT (Innovative Multicultural Program for Adolescent Career Training was funded for five years (1989-1994), and established the first Career Awareness Course for second language learners at Lowell High.  Projects CARE and CAREERS expanded job learning initiatives to middle school TBE students.

Ann co-authored and directed eighteen grants funded by the Emergency Immigrant Assistant Program, as well as the Transition Program for Refugee Children, and the Refugee Children School Impact Program.

Ann collaborated extensively with the University of Massachusetts Lowell; Middlesex Community College, Salem State College, Leslie College, and the Northeast and Islands Laboratory at Brown University in providing in-service training and courses leading to teacher certification.  The Middlesex Community College Title VII Grant “Step Up” provided a career ladder for district para-professionals in attaining Associates Degrees.

Title VII Project SPINDLE (School Personnel Implementing New Designs in Language Education) was a three-year grant providing substantial support to the School Department in implementing Integrative TBE models in elementary schools.

Ann was a presenter at over two-dozen NABE, MABE, and other conferences/workshops and served on numerous State and District Commissions.

In 1998, Ann was the recipient of the Massachusetts Association for Bilingual Education Director’s Award. A Certificate of Appreciation was received in 1993 from the National Association for the Education and Advancement of Cambodian, Laotian, and Vietnamese Americans for her support and contribution at its Fourteenth Annual Conference in Boston.

Ann served with the State Advisory Council for Bilingual Education and was appointed by Governor William F. Weld to serve on the Governor’s Council for Refugees and Immigrants.

Reflecting on her career and advocacy for second language learners, Ann credited the teachers and para-professionals who did yeoman’s work at a challenging time when so many children speaking many different languages settled in Lowell seeking the benefit of a good education.  She was proud to be a part of this important work and a member of the Lowell Public Schools.

Ann will be remembered as a loving supporter and cheerleader for her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  Through example, Ann taught her family the importance of the complementary virtues of frugality and generosity.  To love and know you are loved is the greatest gift a mother can bestow on her children and Ann gave this gift throughout her life.  She will be missed but cherished memories of a life well lived will endure.

Ann is survived by her four children, Thomas J. O’Donnell, Jr. and his wife Gail (Lantagne) of Tewksbury; Debbie A. McLaughlin and her husband Tom of Andover; Mark O’Donnell and his late wife Virginia (Roper) of Lowell; Pam Barry and her husband Kevin of Andover; ten grandsons; T.J. O’Donnell and his wife Kristina of Pelham, NH, Tim O’Donnell and his wife Allison of Waltham, MA, Corry McLaughlin and his wife Morgan of Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, Tommy McLaughlin and his wife Rachel of Brooklyn Heights, NY, Christopher O’Donnell and his wife Debbie of Atlanta, GA, John O’Donnell of Medford, MA , Michael O’Donnell of Lowell, MA, Kevin Barry and his wife Robyn of Newton, MA, Patrick Barry of Nashua, NH and Michael Barry of Medford, MA; six granddaughters; Erin (O’Donnell) Conners and her husband Phillip of Lowell, MA, Angela (O’Donnell) Moulton and her husband Jeff of Stoneham, MA, Kelly (McLaughlin) Caverly and her husband Chris of East Greenwich of RI, Ashley (McLaughlin) Pohlman and her husband Mark of Medfield, MA, Jacqueline (Barry) Druckman and her husband Matt of Melrose, MA, Lauren Barry of Boulder, Colorado; and twenty great grandchildren.  Ann is preceded in death by her sisters; Dorothy Muras of Shiner, Texas; Rosalie Kowalski and her husband A.J. of Houston, Texas and her brother J.J. of Shiner, Texas. 

The family of Ann O’Donnell would like to express their gratitude to the doctors, physician’s assistants, nurses and CNAs at both D’Youville Senior Care in Lowell and Compassionate Care Hospice of Woburn for their comfort, care and support during this difficult time.

Friends may call at the O’DONNELL FUNERAL HOME 276 PAWTUCKET ST. at Fletcher from 3 to 7 P.M. Wednesday. Relatives and friends are invited to attend her Funeral Mass to be celebrated Thursday morning at the IMMACULATE CONCEPTION CHURCH at 11 o’clock followed by her burial at St. Patrick Cemetery in Lowell. E-condolences/directions at www.odonnellfuneralhome.com. Those wishing may make contributions in her memory to the Ann M. O’Donnell Scholarship Fund at Lowell High School, c/o the Greater Lowell Community Foundation, 100 Merrimack St., Suite 202, Lowell, MA 01852. Arrangements by Funeral Director James F. O’Donnell, Jr. (978) 458-8768. 

 

 
Florence E. McCann Print E-mail

Florence E. McCann

Loving mother, grandmother, great grandmother and friend;

Florence E. (Levasseur) McCann, 91, of Lowell, Massachusetts, passed away peacefully in McKinney, Texas surrounded by her loving family. She was the beloved widow of the late James F. McCann, Jr. who died on May 10, 1987.

Born in Lowell, Massachusetts, March 17, 1927, a daughter of the late Alphonse “Peter” and the late Emily (Richard) Levasseur, she attended Ste. Jean d’Arc Grammar school and was a graduate of Lowell High School.

Prior to her retirement in 1992, she was an Inspector at the Raytheon Plant in South Lowell.

Among her several interests, Florence was a member of the Lowell Women’s Club and Margaret’s Knitting Circle.

In addition to spending time with her family, Florence loved to knit, making sweaters for her family and friends. She also knitted mittens which were donated to local schools and shelters.

Florence loved to travel, especially after her retirement. She also loved sports and enjoyed watching the Red Sox, Bruins and Patriots.

She is survived by two daughters Patricia A. Staniec and her husband Thomas of Pelham, NH and Maryanna Quigley and her husband James of McKinney, TX; a son James F. McCann and his wife Kellie of Chelmsford, MA; six grandchildren Michael Staniec and his wife Marijane, Brian Quigley and his wife Maribet, Patrick Quigley, Cara Quigley, Michael McCullough and his fiancée Aly Hewitt and Courtney McCann; two great-grandchildren Michaela and Mariela Staniec; two sisters Claire Motminey and her husband Norman and Lorraine Levasseur; and two brothers Roger Levasseur  and Robert Levasseur and his wife Elaine.

Florence was predeceased by her her two sisters Jean Limacher and Loretta Lajoie.

Friends may call at the O’DONNELL FUNERAL HOME 276 PAWTUCKET ST. in Lowell from 4 to 7 P.M. Friday. Relatives and friends are invited to attend her Funeral Service to be celebrated Saturday morning in the Funeral Home at 10 o’clock followed by burial in St. Patrick Cemetery. E-condolences/directions at www.odonnellfuneralhome.com. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions be sent to the Pulmonary Hypertension Association, 801 Roeder Road, Suite 1000, Silver Spring, MD 20910 or make a memorial gift online at https://phassociation.org/donate/. Arrangements by Funeral Director James F. O’Donnell, Jr. (978) 458-8768.

 

 
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