Marilyn J. (Gowell) Cattanach, a long-time resident of Wellesley, died at home on October 24 at the age of 91. She was the loving mother of Joy and her husband Steven Smith (Needham), Lynn Cattanach (Needham), Lee Cattanach (Boulder, CO), and the late John E. Cattanach (Center Ossipee, NH). She also was the proud grandmother of Caleb and his wife Jaclyn Smith (Boston), Nathaniel Smith (Boston), and Ethan Cattanach (Needham). Marilyn was born in 1929 in Fitchburg to Earle and Rose Gowell. She graduated from Waltham High School (1947), then attended Northeastern University as an engineering student before leaving to marry and start a family. After her children were in school, she taught herself computer programming and became a systems analyst (1965-1992), working on early Apollo space flight projects. Her family, however, was always her priority, and she only took jobs that kept her within 10 minutes of home. She leveraged her work experience to gain admittance to Simmons School of Management, earning an MBA in 1988. Marilyn retired when her first grandson was born. She devoted herself to helping with her grandsons’ care, using her great imagination to plan “beach days” in the backyard, fishing trips to the local pond, regular excursions to the public library and visits to “Starry” Market. As her grandsons grew older, she enthusiastically attended their athletic events and concerts. She also enjoyed visits from her “grand-dog” Kelsey, who she spoiled with treats. Marilyn was a wonderful cook, known especially for her bountiful Thanksgiving dinner (her favorite holiday). She had a great sense of humor, an enduring interest in learning and was very generous with her resources, time and care. She was a creative problem-solver and tireless researcher. There was almost no home improvement project she wouldn’t undertake, and she even mowed her own lawn until her mid-80s. She will be forever loved and missed. A private graveside service will be held at a later date. Donations in Marilyn’s memory may be made to Camp Joslin, 30 Ennis Road, PO Box 356, North Oxford, MA 01537-0356.
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