I wanted to share my mother-in-law's obituary. She was a very smart woman and well ahead of her time. She loved her family and her Catholic faith. She was fiercely loyal and had a bit of an Irish temper. She was a wonderful role model for me as a wife, a mom and a Catholic.
Irene Mary (Browne) Was born in Boston, MA on 9 June 1927 to Jeremiah and Brigid
Browne, who had come to America the previous year from Ennis, County Clare,
She attended St. Francis de Sales Catholic Grade School in Roxbury
followed by Notre Dame Academy in Roxbury. She was a 1948 graduate of Emmanuel
College with a B.A. in Mathematics. She later earned a M.S. in Mathematics from
Boston University in 1951.
After her graduate degree, she returned to Emmanuel where
she taught math. In 1953, she went to work for the U.S. Air Force at Cambridge
Research Labs (CRL) as a geophysicist. She conducted extensive analytical work
on accumulated data that were used to track the movements of Fletcher's Ice
Island, which was a U.S. Air Force glacial ice station in the Arctic Circle.
Her duties involved radio communications with researchers on the island to
acquire and process data from the ice station. In 1960, she was invited to
travel to the ice island for on-site duty in the Arctic. This trip above the
Arctic Circle by Irene and her female colleague represented one of the earliest
forays above that latitude ever undertaken by women.
While working for CRL,
Irene met her husband, Robert Cotell, who had been on the earliest mission to
the ice island. They were married in 1959 and had four children. In 1964, the
couple moved to Wellesley, MA where they raised their four children.
became an active member of St. Paul Parish, and a substitute teacher at St.
Paul School. She was also a prominent leader in the Scouting movement where she
served as a Cub Scout Den Mother, Boy Scout Troop Committee member, and served
various roles in the Norumbega Council.
She also enjoyed spending summers on
Cape Cod, where her family owned a home in West Yarmouth. As a lifelong,
devoted Catholic, she attended daily mass at both St. Paul church in Wellesley
and St. Francis Xavier Church in Hyannis.
Irene is survived by her four
children: Catherine of Alexandria VA, Robert of Fort Detrick, MD, Richard and
his wife, Jennifer of Needham, MA and Daniel and his wife Elizabeth of
Lexington, NC; her three grandchildren: Jillian of Needham and Peter and Sarah
of Lexington, NC; and her two brothers: Gerald Browne and Rev. Robert Browne,
both of Marlborough, MA. Irene was pre-deceased by her sister, Catherine
Funeral from the George F. Doherty & Sons Funeral Home, 477
Washington Street (Rt 16), WELLESLEY, Thursday at 9AM. Funeral Mass in St. Paul
Church, Wellesley at 10AM. Relatives and friends kindly invited. Visiting hours
Wednesday 4-8PM. Interment will be held on Friday, January 31, at 1PM in the
St. Francis Xavier Cemetery, Centerville. In lieu of flowers, the family
suggests donations may be made to Boy Scouts of America, Knox Trail Council or the
For directions and guestbook, gfdoherty.com
George F. Doherty & Sons Wellesley 781-235-4100 - See more at:
We will miss you, Nana.