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Elizabeth Henderson
October 28, 2023


Elizabeth “Nana” Henderson, 81, of Medway, MA passed unexpectedly on October 28, 2023, in her home.

Elizabeth was born on May 18, 1942, and grew up in Sudbury, MA, daughter to Angela and Pasquale Mercury. She was passionate about her Italian heritage and loved her big, boisterous Italian family. She married her first husband, Cameron Henderson, in 1962, and left her studies at Regis College to raise a family, including her daughter Beth and her son Dan. In the early 80’s she met the love of her life, and future husband, Edward Duggan. It was a match made in heaven, and she loved his big, boisterous Irish family as much as her own.

Elizabeth always loved teaching, and at the age of 49, went back to Regis College to finish her undergraduate degree and at the age of 50, was accepted to Harvard University where she received her master’s degree in education. She then went on to become one of the original founding teachers at the Benjamin Franklin Classical Charter School in Franklin, where she loved and was loved by students and colleagues alike.

Her greatest joy was sharing her life with her grandchildren: Sarah, Julia, and Liza MacLeod of Medway, Daniel and William Henderson of Natick, Charles and Christopher Thomas of Pennsylvania and Leighanna Duggan of North Carolina. She was a daily presence in the lives of not just her grandchildren, but all of their friends as well. She was famous for spur-of-the-moment pancake breakfasts and spaghetti dinners, whether for a group of three or thirty, not to mention her frequent surprise deliveries of cookies and brownies, both locally and across the country. She was happiest when she was surrounded by all that youth and energy and laughter and was “Nana” to half the teenagers in Medway, two of whom went on to marry her granddaughters. In fact, she was “Nana” to almost everyone she met!

Whatever Elizabeth did, it was done wholeheartedly, and always with an intention to serve and bring joy to others, whether it was teaching, supporting the church, hundreds of hours spent working on the committee to build Medway’s “new” fire station, golfing, dancing, gardening and most of all, spending time with friends and family.

A loving mother and grandmother, Elizabeth is survived by her daughter, Beth MacLeod and her husband Noel Anderson, her son Dan Henderson and his wife Susan, her granddaughters Sarah Carpenter and her partner Alan Hale, Julia and her husband Bobby Shaw, Elizabeth “Liza” and her husband Mike Wilkinson, her grandsons Daniel and William Henderson, her son-in-law Ken MacLeod and his partner Charlene Appleman, her step-daughter Penny Thomas and her husband Chip, her grandsons Charles, his wife Kathleen and their children Charles, John, Margaret and Grace, Christopher and his wife Stephanie, and her step-son Gary Duggan and her granddaughter Leighanna.

Predeceased by her cherished sister Patricia White and her brother-in-law John White, she is also survived by her beloved siblings Marguerite Tibbert, Nancy Paglia and her husband Bob, and Vincent Mercury and his wife Michelle, as well as her adored extended family of nieces, nephews, cousins and their families.

In addition to her family, Elizabeth leaves behind countless friends and former students, all of whom made her life richer and more blessed.

A private ceremony and burial will be held in December.

A celebration of Elizabeth’s remarkable life will be held on Saturday, June 1, 2024, at 12:00 pm in Medway, MA. An invitation to join us in this celebration will be shared through this posting and electronically in the near future.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her honor to Baypath Humane Society of Hopkinton.

Funeral arrangements are under the care of the Ginley Crowley Funeral Home, 3 Barber Street in Medway (

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3 Barber Street
Medway, MA 02053