Ann J. DeConto, a lifelong resident of Winchester, passed from this earth into the loving arms of Jesus following a long, courageous battle with cancer. She was surrounded by her large family and close friends who loved her dearly. Until her final moments, Ann maintained her sense of humor and sweet thoughtfulness for which she is well known.
Ann was a 1975 graduate of Winchester High School, where she competed as a singles player on the Girls’ Varsity Tennis team. She attended Mt. Ida Junior College and worked as an Executive Assistant in several large companies. She most recently worked at Emerson Hospital in Concord.
Ann had a zest for living that few could match. She was a creative person who could sew and quilt beautifully; she appreciated classical music and several years ago began to play piano. She enjoyed entertaining and hosted wonderful holiday meals. Ann was an excellent cook, and she especially loved to bake. She made the best-ever chocolate chip cookies that her team of doctors still rave about. Until her final weeks, she was baking breads and brownies to share with the many people who supported her during her illness. Ann is perhaps best known as being a “card person.” She never failed to send a card and handwritten note to acknowledge birthdays and other important occasions, and her sentiments were always personal and heartfelt. She appreciated acts of kindness toward her and always wrote warm notes of gratitude. She spread her love in these simple gestures, yet they were cherished by so many.
Ann was an avid cyclist who competed in several long-distance charity bike rides after her first successful battle with cancer. She was so grateful for the years she was given that she attended numerous charity walks to benefit cancer. She was also fiercely competitive on the tennis court, especially with her siblings growing up.
Ann and her 10 siblings cherished happy summers at the family cottage in North Eastham, Mass. She loved to spend long days on the beach swimming, boating and digging for clams with her family. In later years, she enjoyed her time in Chatham with a special friend, Jeff Martino.
In a decade marred by serious illness, the highlight of her life was a beloved trip to Israel, a place she always hoped to return. She traveled with a group from St. Anthony’s Shrine in Boston, where she served as a Eucharistic Minister for five years. One year ago in the midst of her illnesses’s return she traveled to New York City with several sisters and cousins and thoroughly enjoyed herself.
Ann was predeceased by her oldest sister, Jeanne, and recently, her father, Richard E. DeConto. She leaves behind her mother, Virginia, who always called her “my little pearl”; brothers Ralph, Steve, Joe and Richard DeConto; her beloved twin sister, Mary Cowan; and other loving sisters Margaret Smith, Gigi Barnabei, Theresa Goodwin and Betty Waaler. She also is survived by 19 nieces and nephews; six great nieces and nephews; and two grown children Hannah and Michael Ruest.
The family especially would like to thank the outstanding team of doctors and nurses at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women's Hospital for their tireless dedication in pursuit of her recovery and care. Words cannot express our gratitude for their kindness and compassion.
Relatives and friends are kindly invited to gather at the Costello Funeral Home, 177 Washington St., Winchester, on Monday, March 20 from 6-8 PM and again on Tuesday at 9:00 AM followed by a Funeral Mass at St. Eulalia’s Church, 50 Ridge St., Winchester, at 10:00 AM. Burial will follow in Wildwood Cemetery, Winchester. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her name to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. P.O. Box 849168, Boston, MA 02284 or via www.dana-farber.org/gift.