Pauline “Polly” DeConto, 94, formerly of Winchester and Sandwich, MA, passed on October 3, 2018, at the Mooring on Foreside in Cumberland Maine with her family by her side.
Born June 13, 1924 in Boston, MA, she is predeceased by her parents, Frank and Anna (Blunda) Calia of Somerville, MA, her brother Vincent Calia and her late husband of 37 years, Richard DeConto.
Polly graduated from Salem Teachers College in 1946 where she was an avid field hockey player and sports enthusiast. She accepted her first full time teaching position at Brewster Academy, a preparatory school in Wolfeboro, NH in 1948. Once there, the city girl developed a love for New Hampshire’s Lakes Region and the Brewster community. She eventually returned there for many summers to camp with her three young children on Lake Winnipesaukee from June until Labor Day; sleeping in a tent, cooking on a coleman stove, hiking and boating. Her children are forever grateful for this gift, as they emerged with an enormous respect for nature and comfort with the outdoors.
Polly settled with her husband “Dick” in Winchester, MA in 1950 working as a substitute teacher in several metro-Boston school systems while raising her family. She was active in the garden club, charities, and intimidated many opponents with her bridge card-game skills. Her family eventually moved to Sandwich, MA on Cape Cod in 1973. Polly survived breast cancer shortly after moving to the Cape and undeterred went on to live a full, productive life-never looking back. She taught at Weymouth High School until she retired from teaching in 1987. Polly still receives letters from many former students who adored her for being a fierce advocate and a nurturing force in their lives. Nothing made her happier than helping students and changing their lives.
Too energetic and academic to call it quits, Polly embarked on her next career at the Sandwich Glass Museum. There, Polly developed a passion for collecting blown glass and became knowledgeable in all types of glass manufacture and artistry. She eventually became the glass buyer for the museum, travelling across the country evaluating private collections. Polly had an insatiable thirst for travel and in her retirement visited Europe on numerous occasions with friends and family.
Through it all, Polly remained the family caretaker, continuing to prepare exquisite large family Sunday dinners, caring for her ailing husband and aging relatives and travelling at a moments notice to care for grandchildren located hours away; always accompanied by a load of her legendary pies.
Polly is survived by her three grateful children, six grandchildren, sister and brother, and a number of other loving relatives and close friends.
The family would like to thank Polly’s caretakers at the Mooring for the great care and genuine affection they showed while she was a resident. A celebration of Polly’s life will be held at a future date to be announced later.
Donations in her memory can be made to the Sandwich Glass Museum P.O. Box 103 Sandwich, MA 02563 and/or the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc.