Shirley M. (Fecteau) Phelan, 89, Past President of Telephone Pioneers of America

Shirley M. (Fecteau) Phelan, cherished wife of the late John E. Phelan, Sr., passed away peacefully on Sunday, Nov. 19 at the age of 89. She was a devoted daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother, aunt, and friend. Born on July 18, 1928 in Haverhill to the late Louis and Pauline (Bradshaw) Fecteau, she was a lifelong, proud resident of Haverhill. She also summered most of her adult life at her beloved beach house in Seabrook Beach, N.H. where she enjoyed many wonderful times with family and friends.

She is survived by her three children: Kathleen Phelan of Bradford, with whom she lived for the past 11 years, John (Jack) Phelan and his fiancée Liz Hollis of Hampton, N.H. and Ed Phelan and his wife Diane of West Hartford, Conn. She is also survived by her lifelong best friend and cousin Barbara Tattan of Peabody.

She is predeceased by her parents, husband John, his sister Mary Nedeau and her husband Ronald, brother Louis Fecteau and his wife Anita and their daughter Paula, uncle Harry Roche and many other relatives and friends whom she loved dearly.

Phelan, affectionately nicknamed “Skip” by her mother, spent her youth in the Acre section of Haverhill and graduated from St. James Schools. Always ambitious and independent, she spent her childhood summers at Country Pond in Newton Junction, N.H. managing lemonade stands and picking and selling blackberries. Known throughout life as a shrewd and meticulous shopper, storekeepers knew her for her endless returns and repurchases of goods on sale.

She married her husband John in 1951 and together they lived a fairlytale life for 55 years. Her primary goal in life was to make sure her husband, children and grandchildren were healthy and happy. Nothing made her smile more than watching her family open their Christmas presents or attending their sporting events and school functions.

Phelan had a long and joyful 37-year career as a telephone operator where she met many of her closest and lifelong friends. She was also past president of the Telephone Pioneers of America, a nonprofit charity that assisted children with disabilities.

She will be sadly missed by all of her grandchildren, Lindsey, Ryan, Kiley, Paige, and Devin Phelan. She will also be fondly remembered by Cara (O’Brien) Labelle and her son Matthew, her many nephews and nieces, her former daughter and son in-law, Lisa Phelan and Michael O’Brien and many others whose lives she touched so profoundly.

A Funeral Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Friday, Nov. 24 at 10:30 a.m. in Sacred Hearts Church, 165 South Main Street, Bradford. Burial will follow in St. James Cemetery, 360 Primrose Street, Haverhill. Please meet directly at the church. In lieu of flowers, contributions in Shirley’s memory may be made to St Jude.