Cover photo for Elizabeth Ann Keddy's Obituary
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1939 Betty 2024

Elizabeth Ann Keddy

November 29, 1939 — March 26, 2024

Shirley, Massachusetts

Elizabeth Ann “Betty” Keddy of Shirley, MA, formerly of Groton and Lexington, MA, died at home on Wednesday, March 26 of cancer. She was 84.  She was predeceased by her husband, John Earl Keddy.  Born Elizabeth Murphy in Cambridge, MA, on November 29, 1939, she was the daughter of the late L. Francis and Catherine (O’Reilly) Murphy. She grew up in Lexington, MA, where she graduated from Lexington High School in 1957.  In 1959 she graduated from Chandler School for Women in Boston. She later earned a in English from Fitchburg State College in 1983 and an Ed.M degree from the University of Lowell in 1986.  
Ms. Keddy was employed in a variety of positions over the years. In the 1960s, she worked as a medical secretary for Dr. Timothy F. Crane, a surgeon in Cambridge. She was a US congressional assistant to the late Paul Tsongas in the 1970s, and in the 1980s was a writer for former Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis. From 1978 to 1979 she worked as the Groton reporter for The Times Free Press in Pepperell, MA. Beginning in 1987, Ms. Keddy worked in high tech for 21 years as a technical writer for Digital Equipment Corporation, SilverPlatter Information, Kronos, Inc., and Cisco Systems.  

Genealogy was Ms. Keddy’s avocation, and she created family charts and newsletters for the maternal and fraternal sides of her family. She wrote a family gift book for her 70th birthday entitled The O’Reilly Family: History and Genealogy Chart (1840 to 2009).

Ms. Keddy was a progressive Democrat with a strong belief in social justice. She was active in many political campaigns, and served as a member of Democratic Town Committees in Lexington, Groton, and Shirley.  In 1984, Keddy ran unsuccessfully for State Representative of the First Middlesex District.  Her interest in politics began in 1968 during the Vietnam War when she worked for candidates who wanted to end that war.  

Over the years her volunteer work was focused on making the world more peaceful and on helping people to help themselves.  Ms. Keddy was also an active member of First Parish Church of Groton, a Unitarian-Universalist congregation. There she sang in the choir for several years and served on leadership development and social justice committees.  In the late 1990s Ms. Keddy volunteered for several years as a literacy tutor and served on the board of Literacy Volunteers of the Montachusett Area.  She later used her literacy tutoring skills in prison.
Ms. Keddy was perhaps best known in her later years for her volunteer work in prisons, where she combined her writing and teaching skills with her concern for social justice. Starting in 2006, she trained for and then facilitated Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) workshops at the MCI-Shirley Medium prison facility for nine years, and she served on the board of AVP Massachusetts and as coordinator of AVP prison workshops at MCI-Shirley. Keddy taught writing workshops and re-entry classes in prison as a volunteer as well. In 2015 Ms. Keddy wrote and published her first novel, The Way We Touch, a family love story that includes information about AVP and prison volunteering.

During the 2020 COVID -19 pandemic, Keddy compiled and wrote Octogenarian Omnibus, a collection of her writings that is reminiscent of a memoir. The book pieces together a mosaic of her life using her writings to help the reader understand and appreciate her journey.

In the spring of 2022, both Ms. Keddy and her husband John were diagnosed with cancer. John died in July that year, but she continued to struggle with cancer until her death on March 26, 2024. During that time, she wrote the gift book My Expiration Date to capture that experience and to thank the many kind friends and family members who helped her and provided love and encouragement.  This book is not for sale and will be given to the kind people who helped her through her journey.

Although Ms. Keddy had a very busy career and volunteer life, her family always came first.  She and her husband John were married for sixty years. They married on May 19, 1962, in Lexington, MA, where they lived until moving to Groton, MA, in 1978.  In 2003, they moved to Shirley, MA.  She leaves a son John Benjamin Keddy and his wife Sarah Banu Master of Longmeadow, MA, and a daughter Catherine Sarah Black and her husband Joseph Peter Black of Baldwinville, MA, and four beloved grandchildren—Christopher, Joshua, Tyteana, and Nicholas Black.  She also leaves her sister, Catherine Murphy, the well-known realist painter and her brother-in-law, Harry Roseman, the noted sculptor, both of Poughkeepsie, NY.
A memorial service will be held at First Parish Church of Groton on Saturday, June 1, 2024 at 11:00 am. Burial will be private. 

Donations may be made in Ms. Keddy’s memory to First Parish Church of Groton, 3 Powderhouse Rd., Groton, MA 01450, or to Groton Hill Music Center. See for donation details.

Arrangements under the care of Badger Funeral Home, 45 School Street, Groton, MA 01450


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