OBITUARY: Mary Elizabeth (Howe) Paulsen, 88

Below is an obituary from Nichols Funeral Home:

WILMINGTON, MA — Mary (Howe) Paulsen passed peacefully on July 7, 2022.

Mary was raised in Wilmington surrounded by the love of her parents, John and Sarah Howe, and her sister Thelma. As a young girl, she cherished her red wagon and pet goat. After marrying Stuart Paulsen, her children Donna, Dianna, John, Sheila, and Earl held her heart.

Mary’s house was a happy home for her children, their friends, and the many pets they brought home. As a single mother, Mary did a lot with a little. There was no shortage of love, laundry, or a listening ear. Church Street was a home for so many.

Mary was a collector – of friendships, recipes, happy times, QVC finds, and (many) porcelain dolls. The latter often being an (unusual) surprise to new visitors.

Friendships meant the world to Mary. Her social circle grew with every new person she met. Mary and her “hen club” would host meetings and sleepovers, and were always ready for their next road trip. After moving to Cedar Glen, more dear friends entered her life. Call waiting was a blessing. Mary’s phone was always ringing.

Over the years Mary became an extraordinary cook and baker, coming a long way from the Welsh rarebit she made for her kids. Family dinners became feasts of lasagna, sausage and meatballs, homemade sauce, and chicken cutlets. Her oven was well seasoned from countless batches of chocolate chip cookies, éclairs, and whoopie pies. Sugar and spice, she was everything nice.

Nana was the name that fit her best. Each grandchild was her favorite and she fulfilled her role as “Nana” effortlessly. Whether planning adventures, supporting their dreams, or dancing to “Gangnam Style”, Nana gifted her grandkids with wonder, affection, warmth, and a love of chocolate cream pie.

With Mary around, a good time was guaranteed. She hosted countless Memorial Day parade viewings, always complete with her famous blueberry muffins. She was a fixture at Fun on the Fourth, nestled in “her spot” for concerts and fireworks. She celebrated holidays baking more pies than there were people (and there were always a lot of people).

Mary loved and was loved by so many. Among her most adored: family and friends, hot dogs and ice cream in Maine, lobster tails and crab rangoons, the ocean. She was generous, kind, witty, beautiful and magnetic. She gave her love and support unconditionally. We were graced to be in her orbit.

Mary is survived by her loving children Donna (Paulsen) and Richard Heffron, Dianna (Paulsen) and Michael DiGregorio, John Paulsen, Sheila (Paulsen) and Lee Morrison, Earl and Kathy Paulsen; grandchildren Rachel and Fred Oettinger, Kelley and Stephen Crowley, Corey Morrison, Matthew Paulsen, and Michelle Paulsen; her beloved cousin Virginia Merino and countless friends and extended family.

Family and friends will gather for a Graveside Service to Celebrate Mary’s life on Thursday, July 14th at 11:00 a.m. in Wildwood Cemetery, Wildwood Street, Wilmington, MA.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made in Mary’s name to the MSCPA,

Arrangements are under the direction of the Nichols Funeral Home, Wilmington, MA. To leave a message of condolence for the family please visit our website at

Mary Elizabeth (Howe) Paulsen

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