Cover photo for Pauline S. (Shanahan) Byrne's Obituary
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1931 Pauline 2022

Pauline S. (Shanahan) Byrne

August 13, 1931 — March 17, 2022

Pauline S. Byrne (Shanahan), of Ayer formerly of Littleton, MA passed away at home on March 17, 2022 at the age of 90, surrounded by her family. She was the loving wife of the late Thomas J Byrne.

Pauline was born on August 13, 1931, to William and Emma Shanahan, (Barry) in Uxbridge MA. She attended St. Mary's Academy, graduating in 1949. She graduated from Fitchburg Teachers College/Burbank Hospital School of Nursing. She later earned a Master's degree in elementary education from Fitchburg State University.

In the seventh grade, at St. Mary's Academy, she met her dear friend of 78 years, Margaret, (Peggy) Byrne, (Cozzens). During years of spending time together at each other's houses, she fell in love with Peggy's brother, Tom. They married in 1954 and began a strong, faith-filled, loving marriage.

Together they raised six children. Polly truly loved every aspect of motherhood and was a woman ahead of her time, balancing family and career. Her nursing career spanned more than a decade during which time she worked at Emerson Hospital in Concord, MA, was a public health nurse, a home health nurse and a school nurse. She later went back to school continuing her teaching degree and began her nineteen year teaching career at Shaker Lane Elementary School in Littleton, teaching both second grade and kindergarten. She was passionate about her work there and met many cherished friends during those years. After retiring, and the loss of Tom in 1989, she took an adventuresome leap, at the age of 60, and became a flight attendant for American Airlines.

Polly, along with Tom, had a love of early American antiques and spent years collecting and selling them. She continued her antiques business after Tom's passing, gathering more friends along the way. Polly was a wonderful cook and loved to bake. She could put together a great gathering feeding a crowd, without batting an eye. Polly spent her life serving others, nursing, teaching, parenting, and volunteering for Hospice, Meals on Wheels, American Breast Cancer Association and March of Dimes. She loved the outdoors, gardening and was a bit of a fitness fanatic.

Along with her husband, Polly is predeceased by her daughter Mary Elizabeth, and sister Ruth Barrows. She is survived by her two sons Thomas, "TJ" Byrne and Jami of Shirley, MA, and William Byrne and Deborah, of Surprise AZ, her three daughters, Kathleen Pfeiffer and William of Virginia Beach VA, Judy Wustenberg and Mark, of Bay City, OR and Patricia Byrne and Jim Gammon of Littleton MA.

Polly's family will be forever grateful for the loving, expert care and support given to her by Care Dimensions Hospice, Dr. Garrick Stewart, countless family members and friends, and her Visiting Angel, Amy Finn who graciously supported Polly, and each other, during her long illness.

Family and friends will gather to honor and remember Pauline for a period of visitation from 5:00 PM until 7:00 PM on Thursday March 24, 2022 in the Badger Funeral Home, 347 King St. Littleton. Her funeral mass will be celebrated on Friday March 25, 2022 at 11:00 AM in Blessed Trinity Parish – St. Anne Church, 75 King St. Littleton. Internment will follow in Westlawn Cemetery, Littleton.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Polly's memory to:
Catholic Relief Services
228 W. Lexington Street
Baltimore, MD 21201-3443

Arrangements under the care of Badger Funeral Home, 347 King Street, Littleton, MA 01460 978-486-3709 visit

Service Schedule

Past Services


Thursday, March 24, 2022

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Funeral Mass

Friday, March 25, 2022

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

Blessed Trinity Parish - St. Anne Church

75 King St, Littleton, MA 01460

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Friday, March 25, 2022

Starts at 12:00 pm (Eastern time)

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