Dorothy L. (Aylward) Harnish, 88, died peacefully in her home on the morning of January 14, 2022.
The daughter of Mary Catherine (Richard) Aylward and John T. Aylward, Dottie was born in Boston on July 13, 1933. She was raised a devout catholic and enjoyed her parochial school days, reminiscing that she would often go to church daily as a child and teen. She spent the first half of her life in Jamaica Plain and Wilmington, MA, and the second half in Hollis, NH, in the house her husband, Richard, built.
She is survived by her daughter Victoria Harnish and son-in-law Christopher Coutu, with whom she lived for the past 21 years; as well as her daughter Dorothy Johnson and husband Rick of Somerville, MA; her son Edward Harnish and wife Melissa of Boylston, MA; two grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends, including her closest friend Mary Ann Bettilyon of Hollis, NH. She was predeceased by her husband Richard J. Harnish; her sons James Jewer and Thomas Harnish; as well as her brother, John Aylward, and her sister, Gloria Fabiano.
Early in life, Dottie was a hair stylist, owning a salon for many years. Later, she became a switchboard operator, health unit coordinator, and office manager, working for decades at St. Joseph's Hospital and Southern NH Regional Medical Center, both in Nashua.
Throughout her 33-year marriage, she lovingly cared for her husband who endured multiple illnesses, including two bouts with lymphoma. She retired to focus on providing him comfort in the final year of his life as he battled Lou Gehrig's disease (ALS). She then became an Ombudsman for the Office of the Long-Term Care in NH and volunteered for many years at Southern NH Regional Medical Center and the Pepperell Senior Center, where she met numerous friends and participated in activities ranging from New England day trips, dancing, jewelry making and all sorts of crafts, to, most recently, Zoom Bone Builders exercise classes. Weekly, she took great solace in livestreaming mass from Gate of Heaven Church in South Boston. Her friends often described her as "the sweetest woman" they had met, and her family wholeheartedly agreed with that assessment.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Dottie's memory to: Friends of Pepperell Seniors, PO Box 1555, Pepperell, MA 01463, or to the Nashua Soup Kitchen & Shelter at nsks.org/make-a-donation, as those who are less fortunate were always in her prayers.
Family and friends are invited to attend a graveside memorial service in April (date TBA) at East Cemetery, Wheeler Road, Hollis, NH.