April 20,1920–December 3, 2019 (Age 99)
Mary Caires was the definition of sweet. Through the end of her days, Mary made life sweeter with a kind word. Mary also had a sweet tooth to match her sweet demeanor. She took her tea with extra sugar and smiled before she sipped. “A vida é amarga,” she’d tease. “Hey, life can be bitter enough.”
Mary’s story started in Portugal. She was born to José and Maria Rosa de Ornelas Flor. As their oldest daughter, Mary cared for 11 siblings. In 1947, she married her other half, Cesar Caires. Then Mary and Cesar immigrated from Madeira to the United States. Together they started a family of their own, and they helped relatives who sought a better life here. They sponsored and hosted them as they too became U.S. citizens.
Mary lived much of her life in Chelmsford, Massachusetts. She called the home she made “meu cantinho,” her little corner of the world. Everything in it was handmade, homegrown or homemade. She embroidered, sewed dresses, gardened flowers and prepared freshly picked vegetables. Down the street, she did more cooking in the Byam and McFarlan School cafeterias.
As a devout Catholic, Mary was never without her rosary beads. She walked to mass at Saint Mary’s and attended Saint Anthony’s Church where she belonged to the Blessed Virgin Sodality. This woman of faith showed compassion to everyone from strangers to dear friends.
Many knew Mary as a confidante and a witty storyteller. Mary is survived by her son, Joseph Caires, and his wife, Deborah Sarnie; granddaughters, Breanna Caires and Ashlee Sarnie; sister, Justina De Quintal, and her husband, Agostinho De Quintal; sisters-in-law, Isabel Caires and Maria José Caires; and brother-in-law, Jorge Caires, and his wife, Adelina Caires. Mary’s family includes her special nieces, nephews and cousins as well.
Family and friends are invited to celebrate the light Mary shined on their lives. On Friday, December 6, visiting hours are 3-7p.m. at Dolan Funeral Home (106 Middlesex St., Chelmsford). On Saturday, December 7, Mary’s celebration starts at 10a.m. at Dolan Funeral Home. Her 11a.m. Funeral Mass will follow at Saint Mary’s Church (25 North Road, Chelmsford). Mary will then be buried at Pine Ridge Cemetery in Chelmsford.
Mary’s loved ones routinely wrote, called, visited and wished her well. She appreciated their thoughtfulness over the years and especially since the time when she was diagnosed with colon cancer. Mary’s nephew, Patrick, was taken by the same cancer before she was. Memorials made in Mary’s name can be donated to a scholarship fund for Patrick’s daughter. Checks should be made out to Hayden Caires and mailed to her In Care of Edward Jones at 6 Alpine Lane, Chelmsford, MA, 01824.ARRANGEMENTS BY DOLAN FUNERAL HOME 978-256-4040.