Mary Theresa (Tice) O'Regan, 91, of Providence, died October 19, 2020 in Landmark Medical Center, Woonsocket. She was the wife of the late Patrick Joseph O'Regan, whom she married June 30, 1956 and with whom she had a long, lively and happy marriage. Born in Manhattan, she was the daughter of the late Walter and Mary (Feighery) Tice. She was a member of St. James Episcopal Church, North Providence.
Mary was a dedicated servant of public health, with a Bachelor of Public Health and nursing degrees from St. Johns and St. Vincent’s, both in New York. She spent five years with the Visiting Nurses Services in New York City and nineteen years at the Chad Brown Health Center, a community-based clinic in the Chad Brown public housing projects, in Providence. She was dedicated to that community, where she played a leadership role as the nurse executive, and where she served as a volunteer and board member after her retirement in 1992. The clinic and its people are our extended family.
Mary’s professional work was just one way she demonstrated her commitment to issues of social justice and racial equality. Throughout her life, she acted on that commitment. She walked the picket lines in support of the grape workers’ strike in the late 1960’s (a child or two in tow); she linked arms with teachers to protect bused students, to support the integration of Mount Pleasant High School in the early 1970’s; as the AIDs epidemic spread throughout her Chad Brown community, she became a certified HIV counselor so that those affected in her community could work with someone they knew. She was not a woman long on words and short on action, and there was no sliver of space between her convictions and her acts. She was a strong woman, with a strong moral code, and a little bit of sass.
That combination made her a fierce competitor at many of her favorite pastimes. She loved playing cards, and played competitively even against her grandchildren, right up until her death. She took up tennis in her 60’s, and played to win, every time. Many of her children and grandchildren have inherited this trait. It makes for interesting holidays.
Mary lived a long, meaningful life, and at each stage, she engaged with determination and appreciation. After the loss of her husband, she was a grandmother (and mother) extraordinaire, with her unique combination of attention, opinion, and dedication. Her commitment to helping others was never stronger than for her children, and the people in their lives. She did not just advise, she did; she literally showed up for whatever was needed, even if it meant reconfiguring her life.
She became an active member of The Hamilton House learning community, where she created a senior’s public policy discussion group to continue her love of political and policy debate. She was a woman of faith, who applied her same critical eye to her religious beliefs, as they thoughtfully evolved over her life. And in the past several years when she needed additional assistance, she developed new, loving relationships at the Woonsocket Health and Rehabilitation Center. For all of this, her family is incredibly grateful.
Mary’s family played a central role in her life. She leaves her seven children and their families: Pat and his wife Susan; Mary; Grayce and her partner Paul; Bill and his wife Lieke; Kathy; Anne Marie Hannah; and Rose O’Regan Geisman and her husband Rick. She also leaves seven grandchildren and three great grandchildren: Hannah; Billy; Sean and his wife Samantha; Josefien; Corey; Lieke May; Trey; 'Ikaika; Carson and Camden. She is survived by her younger brother with whom she was quite close, Walter (‘Sonny’)Tice and his wife, Chris.
Private funeral arrangements are under the direction of the Holt Funeral Home, 510 South Main St., Woonsocket. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions be made to the Rhode Island Foundation; Mary and Pat O'Regan Scholarship Fund, One Union Station, Providence, RI 02903, or online at https://rifoundation.org/funds/mary-and-pat-o-regan-fund .
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Rhode Island Foundation; Mary and Pat O'Regan Scholarship Fund
One Union Station, Providence RI 02903