Cover photo for Valerie A. O’Hanley's Obituary
Valerie A. O’Hanley Profile Photo

Valerie A. O’Hanley

d. January 16, 2024

Valerie A. O’Hanley

 

 

Valerie (Jackson) O’Hanley, 87, who passed away at home on January 16, 2024 after a time of ill health, was a beloved mother, wife, relative, friend, colleague, and neighbor to so many, and leaves a cavernous gap in our lives; those who knew her will miss her kindness, thoughtfulness, generosity, and sense of humor. The daughter of William J. Jackson and Anne (Meehan) Jackson, Valerie spent her school years in Weymouth (Humphrey and Immaculate Conception schools), Wollaston, and Roxbury. Her lifelong love of and considerable talents in cooking were kindled at her paternal grandmother’s restaurant, and when she attended eighth grade at the School of Practical Arts in Roxbury (she still has the set of measuring spoons she received from Miss Kelly in junior high school). She met Robert O’Hanley at church in Roxbury in 1953, and they would marry in 1958.

After graduating in 1954 from Roxbury Memorial High School for Girls, Valerie worked as a secretary at Superior Printing, and then as a lab assistant at CCM: Cambosco, both in Boston. After she and Robert married, they moved to Bourne and he took a position at Buzzards Bay Electronics, and they lived on the second floor of the business; Robert ran the shop and Valerie worked as a bookkeeper at Otis Air Force base in Sandwich. She fondly remembers having her aunt’s small children to stay, taking them to the beach in warm weather, among other activities.

In the mid-1960s, Valerie and Robert moved to Weymouth and had a baby daughter, Anne Marie, who was premature and sadly, lived only a few days. They later had another daughter, Coleen.

Valerie cared for siblings and cousins from an early age, and always loved being with children. When her cousin Kim was born with cerebral palsy and developmental disabilities, Valerie traveled to the Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential in Philadelphia to learn how to best help Kim, and trained and coordinated dozens of local volunteers to work with her, to help Kim to achieve as much as possible.

In the 1980s, Valerie began working with children with special needs at the CHARMSS Collaborative in Randolph, and would remain at the Collaborative for the rest of her career; over the years, she helped countless children—a great many with autism—realize their abilities. She worked with children of various ages, from preschool to middle school, and while working at the Collaborative, she attended Quincy College; after completing her coursework, she became a certified preschool teacher.

Valerie volunteered in many capacities: At Sacred Heart School in Weymouth, she was a longtime recess monitor, and worked on fundraising, running the rummage sale and auction. She was a volunteer with Lay Apostolate of the Aging (visiting residents in nursing homes), a Girl Scout Leader, and a member of the Weymouth Catholic Club, including serving as its vice president and coordinating its annual banquet, fashion show, and music. She also taught CCD classes at Immaculate Conception Church in East Weymouth.

Valerie loved traveling—she visited London several times, and traveled extensively in the United States, as well as to Canada, France, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Spain, and Switzerland. A favorite destination for Valerie was Aruba, as she loved sunshine, the beach, and time to relax and read; she was also a lifelong lover of Nantasket Beach. She loved to read mysteries and enjoyed detective novels; she especially enjoyed reading novels by British authors, along with other works of literature, mysteries, and detective novels. Her love of music was eclectic, as she enjoyed Ahmad Jamal, ABBA, Bob Marley, Duke Ellington, Elvis Presley, Ramsey Lewis, and Eurythmics. She loved watching British and American comedy and drama on TV and video. She would also read cookbooks and recipes, and avidly viewed cooking-related programming online and on TV—she was an especially devoted fan of Julia Child’s “The Art of French Cooking” on PBS. She could watch a recipe being made on television and would perhaps opt to swap out ingredients to come up with her own creation, and make it a success; she was knowledgeable and talented in the kitchen, and her sister-in-law (who was like a sister) from Japan, Tsutako, taught her all about cooking Japanese food. Valerie loved spending time with family and friends at restaurants and enjoying various cuisines.

Valerie was predeceased by her parents; her sister, Joanne Jackson; her brothers, William J. Jackson Jr. and Lawrence P. Jackson; her husband, Robert, and their daughter, Anne Marie. She is survived by a daughter, Coleen—with whom she shared a home, a life, travels, and many mutual interests—who cannot imagine a life without her. Valerie’s life was tremendously enriched by those closest to her, including her dear friends Kathy Sullivan, Joyce Tracy, and Edie Yeomans; her late sister-in law Tsutako “Susan” (Kunii) Jackson; her late Uncle Allan Drew; the late Millie Tracy; and the late Evelyn Glynn, along with numerous others—beloved friends, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews on the Jackson and O’Hanley sides of the family, colleagues, and neighbors. She also leaves her beloved Aruban granddog, Autumn. She will be missed by so many, and her memory will be treasured.

Visitation will be from 5 PM to 7 PM on Friday, February 2nd, and 8:30 AM to 10 AM on Saturday, February 3rd, at the McDonald Keohane Funeral Home at 40 Sea Street, North Weymouth, which will be followed by a Mass at 10:30 AM at Immaculate Conception Church in East Weymouth. Attendees at either event are invited to wear something purple, Valerie’s favorite color.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the charitable arm of the nonprofit South Shore Hospital: South Shore Health Foundation, 55 Fogg Road, South Weymouth, MA 02190, or online at SouthShoreHealth.org/Give; Valerie has received their wonderful inpatient and home care previously, and especially within the past year.

Interment will be in Fairmount Cemetery at a later date.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Valerie A. O’Hanley, please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Visiting Hours

Friday, February 2, 2024

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Eastern time)

McDonald KeohaneFuneral Home - North

40 Sea Street, Weymouth, MA 02191

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Funeral Mass

Saturday, February 3, 2024

Starts at 10:30 am (Eastern time)

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