Johanna Bernadette Monaghan, 79, of Milton passed away peacefully on September 30th. Johanna was the youngest of the O’Donoghue family and was born in Pound Lick, Skibbereen, County Cork, Ireland. Johanna is predeceased by her parents Lil and Timothy and by her siblings May, Pat, John, Mic, Jerry, Florie and Betty. Johanna emigrated to Boston where she met her husband Philip at an Irish dance and they were married in 1964. In addition to her husband, Johanna is survived by her 4 children: Winifred Monaghan-Pynn and her husband Michael Pynn of North Carolina, Brendan and his wife Cathy Monaghan of Quincy, Siobhan and her husband Dan McDonald of Mansfield and Martin and his wife Jennifer of Duxbury. Loving Nana of Lydia, Liam, Amelia and Owen Pynn, Lindsay, Aidan and Molly McDonald, Gavin, Laura and Hadley Monaghan.
Johanna worked several years as a personal care assistant, but her primary role was that of a dedicated and loving homemaker running a busy household and raising four active kids. Early memories abound from Gulliver Street including family parties, baking Irish bread, handsewn clothing and Halloween costumes, hosting holiday celebrations, neighborhood gatherings, homemade birthday cakes, visits home to Ireland, afternoons at Cunningham pool, listening to the Irish Hour (all day!) on Saturdays and growing a Guinness Book of World Record sunflower plant (almost!). A real animal lover, Johanna always cherished having pets at home and found great comfort in their presence.
Johanna loved to read and enjoyed swapping books with friends and family. If Johanna wasn’t reading or in the kitchen, she was out in the garden tending to her abundant gardens. At times, Johanna missed lunch or started dinner late, because she lost track of time out in the yard. Johanna’s daily goal was to get out for a walk each day. “It’s my therapy” she often said. She enjoyed walks in the Blue Hills, around Castle Island and along the water at Pope John Paul II Park. Her final walk with her beloved husband of 56 years, Phil, was around Turners Pond on Sunday. Johanna was always active and actually held one of the longest memberships since the local gym opened in 1980. Although she was unable to participate in group classes over the last few years, she met some of her dearest friends at the gym and enjoyed 1st Friday lunches with the girls. Always mindful of a healthy diet, there were very limited visits to Burger King for the Monaghan kids, never a saltshaker in the house and there was no way Johanna would purchase store-bought bakery items, and definitely not a store-bought birthday cake! As kids, we didn’t quite understand why Mom put pineapple in her homemade coleslaw or wheat germ in the chocolate chip cookies or fruit in breads or why dinner always had to include meat, potatoes and a vegetable, but as we grew older, we learned to recognize and appreciate her great talents in the kitchen. Many planned parties and impromptu gatherings were hosted by Johanna, always with an abundance of food, good cheer, music, stories and laughter.
While Johanna’s formal education ended with secondary school, she was curious by nature, always asking questions and doing her own research, especially when it came to her personal health issues. She enjoyed reading the newspaper daily, sought greater understanding by reading her medical reference books and stayed current and informed by tuning into public radio or television. Through the years, Johanna was fortunate to vacation near and far, but always enjoyed coming home. As snowbirds spending winters with her husband in their Naples, Florida condominium, Johanna enjoyed walks on the beach, times with friends and warmer temperatures, but Milton was her true home and upon return, she usually was heard saying “it’s so good to be home”. Johanna was talented, as shown by a walk through her home filled with her paintings, refinished furniture and custom-made window treatments and designs. With her smile and warm demeanor, she welcomed friends and family into her home and always had Irish music playing and the kettle ready for a cup of tea.
By far, her greatest joy was found within her family. Johanna was proud of her children and was fortunate to watch them grow up, find love and get married. As a Nana of ten, she loved spending time with her grandchildren, whether it be a walk in the woods, a chat about school, a trip to pick apples, hosting a sleepover, watching a performance or just having a meal together, Nana cherished each moment.
Whether you knew her as Johanna, Mom, Nana, Aunt Nan, Ann or Mrs. Monaghan, one thing is for sure, she took nothing for granted, and while she was so loved and will be greatly missed, her warmth, spirit and memory will endure in our hearts forever.
Visiting hours at the Alfred D. Thomas Funeral Home, 326 Granite Avenue, Milton on Sunday October 4th 4pm-6pm. Due to the current Covid-19 restrictions, only 25 guests are allowed in Funeral Home at a time. Masks are required and guests should bring their own pens to sign the register book. Funeral mass at St. Elizabeth Church, Milton on Monday October 5th at 11:30am. Burial Milton Cemetery.
As an expression of sympathy, memorial contributions may be directed to
WGBH https://www.wgbh.org/support/donate or to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital https://www.stjude.org/donate/donate-to-st-jude.html
To send flowers to Johanna's family, please visit our floral store.