Doris McDermott of Pearl River, N.Y. and Englewood, Fla., loving wife of James McDermott, lost a short but difficult battle with ovarian cancer Feb. 21 while surrounded by family. She was the most youthful 81-year-old you’ll ever see, a lively, strong woman who always was the life of the party.
She was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. to Lillian and Frank Cava and was raised in Queens. She graduated from Thorpe Secretarial School in Manhattan, went on to work at Equitable Life Insurance and, later, at Rockland Psychiatric Center and Rockland Children's Psychiatric Center for 18 years.
She raised three children in Pearl River, N.Y., and they were the center of her world. She was their biggest cheerleader. Doris was a doting mother who zipped up her young children's jackets to the chin on cold days and insisted on serving them -- including when they were grown. Even in her last days, when it was hard to talk, she managed to remind them that there were “cookies in the cabinet.”
Doris enjoyed fishing with Jim, the love of her life, listening to music and dancing. As a child, she danced on T.V. and at Carnegie Hall.
A meticulous housekeeper who achieved sanitary perfection, she wasn’t above a dirty joke and even made her family laugh in the hospital as her condition waned.
She is survived by her husband, Jim; a daughter, Christine Kiely and husband Jeff of Tolland, Conn.; two sons, Thomas Dempsey and wife Wendy of Hebron, Conn. and Joseph Dempsey and wife Monica of Hazlet, N.J. She had two stepchildren, Jamie Zervos and husband, Dean of Ithaca, N.Y. and James McDermott and wife Darlene of Pearl River, N.Y.
She leaves behind four granddaughters, Jennifer Kiely, Melissa Kiely, Danielle Dempsey and Shealyn Dempsey; five step grandchildren, J.T. McDermott, Sean McDermott, Emma McDermott, Zoe Zervos and Dean Zervos, plus a step-great grandchild, Matthew McDermott. She is predeceased by her parents and brother, Frank Cava.
Calling hours will be from 2-6 p.m. March 19 at the Wyman-Fisher Funeral Home, 100 Franklin Ave., Pearl River. Burial will be at the convenience of the family; a celebration of her life will be held in the spring.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to Donate Life NYS, 185 Jordan Road, Troy, N.Y., 12180, with gratitude for a transplant that saved the life of her son, Tom, or the Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance, 14 Pennsylvania Plaza, Suite 2110, New York, N.Y. 10122.
Donate Life NYS:
Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance: