Margaret Palmer (Bodfish) Fish of Hyannis, MA passed away peacefully on February 10, 2022. “Dede” was the beloved wife of Walter H. Fish, Jr., who predeceased her in 2009 after 58 loving years of marriage. She is survived by her daughters, Carolyn Fish of Watertown and Susan Fish & her partner Thomas Kelly of Watertown. Dede had the added joy of many nieces, nephews and their
Dede was born in Springfield, MA in 1930 and grew up in Longmeadow, MA. She is predeceased by her loving parents, Robert Ware Bodfish & Marjorie Palmer Bodfish, sister Marie Davies and her husband James of Abington, PA and sister Barbara “Curly” Beane and her husband Wilmot of Franklin and Manomet, MA. As a young girl, she was active in Girls Scouts, the First Church of Christ Longmeadow, enjoyed playing her Nana Palmer’s violin and could be found just about anywhere riding her bike. After grade school in Longmeadow, she attended Classical High School in Springfield and was proud to be a member of the class of 1951 at Wheaton College in Norton, MA. It was at Wheaton College she met her husband Walter, who was attending nearby Brown University. Dede loved to tell the story of her first date with Walter. Her roommate was dating Walter’s friend.
Since Walter owned the car used for weekly visits, Dede would find Walter a date each weekend. One weekend Dede had no luck, so she went herself. This rest is history!
Walter and Dede moved to Hyannis, MA to begin married life. Dede grew to love the Cape, but would remind us of how different the Cape was in the 1950s. Once she crossed the bridge, she discovered telephone party lines, cesspools, and that maternity clothes required a trip to New Bedford. Bucking the norm of most Cape Codders, for many years Dede and her family spent most of the summer at her parents’ cottage in Manomet. Along with traditional summer life, Manomet was a family gathering place where her sisters and their families could enjoy vacations together and build family memories. Dede was an active member of the Federated Church of Hyannis for more than 60 years. She taught kindergarten Sunday school for 20 years, served on numerous committees, including Diaconate and Membership, and enjoyed the friendship of Couples Club/Pairs & Pals. She
and Walter were actively involved in Senior High Fellowship for many years, including a memorable trip as chaperones to New York City. Dede’s favorite role was being a part of the church’s Lobster Luncheon each summer. For many years she was out front serving dessert and greeting regulars and newcomers alike. When Dede’s children were established in elementary school, she began working
in the Barnstable School Department as a substitute secretary at the Hyannis East Elementary School. She then became an aide with the health department, working in all elementary schools until she retired. Dede later worked at Winsor Button at the Cape Cod Mall, sharing her sewing and creative talents with others.
In addition to volunteering at her church, Dede was a long-time member of the Cape Cod Hospital Auxiliary. She volunteered at the Auxiliary’s Thrift Shop in Hyannis for many years and modeled in its fashion shows at The Paddock restaurant during the summer. Dede was a member of the Rotary Ann Club, an auxiliary of Rotary, and enjoyed the Rotary Bowling League with her husband
Walter. She was involved in the 4-H Club program, becoming a group leader of her daughters’ sewing clubs for a number of years. Dede loved gardening and looked forward each year to creating her window boxes and gardens. This task was never over as she would add a plant here, tuck a flower there, to her creations all summer long. Dede usually had a 4-legged friend helping with all her endeavors. A lover of animals, Dede’s family always included a cat or dog or both, in addition to the many hamsters, guinea pigs, mice and turtles brought home by her daughters.
Dede’s positive attitude and determination was ever present as she entered her 90s. She didn’t believe in numbers, was convinced that age was two-thirds mental and looked forward to what each day would bring. Onward!
Family and friends are invited to a memorial service to celebrate Dede’s life on Saturday, March 12, at 11:00 am at the Federated Church of Hyannis, 320 Main Street, Hyannis, MA (parking allowed in the lot behind the commercial building across the street). Out of an abundance of caution, the family asks those who gather to wear a face mask upon entering the church. A private burial will
take place when spring arrives and the flowers bloom!
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Federated Church of Hyannis, 320 Main St., Hyannis, MA 02601 or MSPCA Cape Cod, 1577 Falmouth Road, Centerville, MA 02632.
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