Anne Harriet (Dugan) Cotter

Anne Harriet (Dugan) Cotter, 79, of Milton, MA and Block Island, RI, passed away peacefully at home on Friday, May 17, 2019. Born on November 23, 1939 in Brookline, MA, to her loving parents William and Mary (Feeley) Dugan.

At an early age, Anne shared a joy for music singing with her parents in three-part harmony. On many occasions throughout her life Anne shared her beautiful voice at weddings, christenings, Sunday Mass, and countless family gatherings. She also inherited her love of hats from her mother, Mimi. Many still refer to Anne as “the Hat Lady.”

Anne grew up in Braintree attending Sacred Heart High School in Weymouth and graduated from Boston College School of Nursing in 1961. After graduation, Anne was handpicked to reside at the Kennedy Compound in Hyannis for a summer looking after the newest addition to the Kennedy family. She shared so many stories of her adventures spent with various members of the Kennedys and the lasting friendships that developed as a result.

Anne remained on the faculty at Boston College as an instructor of maternity nursing at St. Margaret’s Hospital in Dorchester, MA. It was there she met the love of her life, Dr. Paul F. Cotter. Anne and Paul would marry soon after on September 22, 1962 at Sacred Heart Church in Weymouth and start a family. Over the next eight years, they had six children. Anne shifted gears and became a full-time homemaker. Despite the demands of raising six children, their 56-year marriage was a true love story. Their adoration and devotion to each other never wavered and their love for their children and grandchildren was unconditional.

Anne was an active member of Catholic Charities, taught catechism classes, opened her home to unwed mothers in need of respite, and cared for several ailing elderly family members in their final years. Her home was a sanctuary to anyone in need. Anne was a true matriarch teaching by her example the importance of celebrating life with loved ones and showing compassion for others.

Anne masterfully orchestrated summer vacations for six kids, their friends, horses, a goat, a rooster, cats, dogs, and enough food and clothes for two months year after year on Block Island. Ski trips to Franconia, NH with the Doyle’s had a similar flare with an additional four kids, skis, boots, and poles. The annual fall “girls weekend” included Anne’s famous Block Island tour that guests experienced sitting in the back of the pickup truck. You name it Anne celebrated it in the family homes in Braintree and Stoughton and she was always the most elegant and gracious host. Whether on Block Island, in Franconia, Braintree, Stoughton, or Milton, you knew you could find food and fun at Anne and Paul’s.

Anne had her share of challenges throughout her life. Her strength and humility was unequalled. She survived four different cancers and a stroke that greatly hindered her mobility, without complaint.  To refer to her as superhuman would not be an exaggeration. Her courage is inspirational.

Anne’s compassion, warmth, sense of humor, and infectious smile will be forever missed.

She is survived by her beloved husband Paul, her children, Paul, Julie, Chris, Amy, Melissa and Tim and her grandchildren Caitlin, Missy, Tom, Kyle, Liam, Richie, Brianne, Dylan, Mary, and Haley. As well as many cousins, other relatives and friends.

A Mass will be celebrated at St. Agatha Parish, 432 Adams Street, Milton, MA, Wednesday, May 29, 2019 at 10:30a. Visiting hours at Dolan Funeral Home, 460 Granite Avenue, East Milton Square, Tuesday, May 28, 2019, 4p-7p. In lieu of flowers, please make any donations in her memory to Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Development Office, 116 Huntington Avenue, 3rd Floor, Boston, MA 02116, Season’s Hospice, 597 Randolph Avenue, Milton, MA, and Block Island Medical Center, Block Island, RI 02807.