Margaret Teresa (Splaine) Pritts, 78, passed away Friday, July 19, 2019 peacefully at home after an extended battle with Alzheimer’s Disease. Peggy, as she was known to family and friends, was the third child born to John and Mary Splaine of Cambridge, MA. She was a proud first-generation Irish American and the daughter of immigrants that maintained a close relationship with her cousin Mary in Aherla, Ireland.
Peggy grew up like many of the Irish families in the area going to catholic school first at St. Peter’s in Cambridge and then onto Cardinal Cushing High School in South Boston. She took Irish step dancing and singing lessons and participated in many of the Irish festivals with her sisters, Mary and Christine. Peggy was a classically trained Soprano with a remarkably beautiful voice. For those in her family who heard that voice around the house, in the church pew on Sundays, or singing a lullaby to her grandchildren it was unforgettable.
Peggy graduated from Catherine Laboure School of Nursing and started her career as a nurse. Being a nurse and taking care of others was Peggy’s calling. Her 45-year career reflected her life’s journey. As young nurse she worked in many of Boston’s hospitals including Carney Hospital, Sancta Maria, Deaconess Hospital, and Lahey Clinic. In her mid-life, Peggy took a hiatus from the hospitals to care for her mother who also had Alzheimer’s. In 1990, she returned to work and spent ten years at Glynn Memorial Nursing Home in Haverhill on their special Alzheimer’s unit floor. To round out her career, like so many end out their lives, Peggy’s last job as a nurse was with Merrimack Valley Hospice. Her profession changed over the years from the nurses that ran the hospital floors and did everything to the highly skilled and specialized nurses who walk those floors today, but her proudest nursing moments were standing in solidarity with her colleagues for nurses’ rights and patient care.
Peggy was known for her big heart, caring for every broken animal that crossed her path, and of course her parties. If it was summer, that party included the pool because everything is better with a swim in the pool. She loved to garden and spent many hours looking for the perfect flowers at the area garden stores. She walked through the New England flower show every year dreaming of the possibilities her backyard in Andover could become. Her favorites were roses, gladiolus, Irises, lilacs, and Magnolias but really any flower, plant, or tree had a spot in her yard.
Peggy is survived by the love of her life, husband Ronald Pritts. Their first blind date led to 51 years of marriage and three children, Ona Blanchette of Methuen, Jennifer Nale of Pelham NH, and Alisha Bourne of Methuen. Peggy also leaves behind two sons-in-law, Chad Nale and Greg Blanchette, who aided and abetted her many household and garden projects. Her life was made complete with the addition of her five grandchildren: Jack Blanchette, Brigid Nale, Patrick Blanchette, Katie Nale, and Callan Nale. In addition, she is survived by her brother, John Splaine of Lowell.
A funeral mass and celebration of Peggy’s life will be held on her 79th birthday, Wednesday, July 24, 2019 at 11:00 AM in St. Joseph Church, 20 Highvale Lane in Andover.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations in Peggy’s name be made to the Merrimack Valley Hospice in Lawrence, MA or the Alzheimer Association. The family would also like to acknowledge the care and the outstanding nursing of MV Hospice in her final days specifically Cheryl Colby and Karla Baez, as Peggy knew a good nurse when she saw one and the impact they have.