Phyllis E. (Walsh) Rousseau, 96, died Saturday, July 25, 2020 after a short period of failing health. She was the wife of the late Hector J. Rousseau who passed away in 1999. They were married for over 50 years.
Phyllis was born in New York City, the daughter of the late John and Catherine (Somers) Walsh. She lost both her parents at a young age, and was raised by her maternal grandmother in Auburndale, MA. Her young adult life was rich with activities such as ice skating on the Charles River, various escapades with her sisters, Barbara and Marilyn, and later on spending time with her beloved Hector. During WWII, Phyllis was employed at Raytheon, and eventually worked on the Manhattan Project.
On April 24, 1949, Phyllis and Hector married, starting their family. Their children were sources of pride and joy throughout her life, and she was always ready to share a story about the many memories of raising them. Anecdotes of “ten people sharing one bathroom” and “squeezing eight children into a station wagon” were passed along to her grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Shortly after Hector passed, Phyllis moved to New Horizons in Marlborough, MA. She embraced new friendships and opportunities to organize and lead social activities and events for fellow residents.
Phyllis faced failing health and death in the same way she lived her life: with courage, humor, and a matter-of-factness that was uniquely her own. She always held the belief that “if it’s to be, it will be.” She understood that life is a gift, full of finite moments that are to be cherished. Phyllis met each day with purpose, even on hard days, knowing there was one way to go — forward. Her death has left many heartbroken, and yet for all those she touched in her lifetime, the legacy of her indomitable spirit remains, reminding us all that life is truly a gift to be treasured and celebrated.
She is survived by her children Mark Rousseau and his wife Kathy of Marlborough, Kevin Rousseau and his fiancé Teri of Millis, Kathryn Dehey of Mendon, Janet Zelnia and her husband Tony of Webster, Donna Medeiros and her husband Richard of Florida, Elaine Bruno and her husband Mark of Falmouth, and David Rousseau and his husband Michael Carter of Needham. She also leaves her sister Marilyn Rapoza of Falmouth. Phyllis was the loving grandmother to 13 grandchildren and nine great grandchildren. In addition to her husband, she was predeceased by her daughter Carol Rousseau, her sister Barbara LeVert, and sons-in-law Thomas Dehey and William Tetreault.
A graveside service will be held on Thursday, July 30 at 12:15 p.m. at Evergreen Cemetery, Wilson Street, Marlborough. Due to the current Coronavirus pandemic, there will be no gathering after the service.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the Special Olympics at give.specialolympics.org.
Funeral arrangements under the direction of the Short & Rowe Funeral Home (www.shortandrowefuneralhome.com)
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