Theresa M. Tully, 97: A life of service

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SOUTH PORTLAND — Theresa M. Tully, 97, formerly of Portland, died June 26 at the South Portland Nursing Home with her family by her side.

Tully was born in Biddeford, a daughter of Francis Xavier and Marie Louise Fournier Emond. She attended Presentation of Mary Preparatory School in Hudson, N.H., and graduated from Biddeford High School with its class of 1935.

She continued her education at the Swinburne School of Household Arts in Newport, R.I., and later took several courses in accounting and computer studies at the University of Southern Maine.

In 1941, she married Ralph L. Tully. After World War II, the couple established residence in the Portland area.

Tully began her career with the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company in Biddeford. But in 1960, she and her husband, along with her sister Gertrude and her brother-in-law John P. Conroy Sr., established the Conroy Funeral Home. It became the Conroy-Tully Funeral Home after her son Paul joined the company in 1971.

In 1988, Tully and her family opened a second funeral home in South Portland. She was extremely proud of being the third generation of her family to serve the community in funeral service. She was involved in nearly every facet of the business for over 40 years, until it was sold in 2001.

Tully was a former communicant of Holy Cross Church and St. Dominic’s Church, and was a daily communicant of The Monastery of the Precious Blood. She was a member of the Secular Order of St. Francis, and was active in the Holy Cross Mothers Club, the Holy Cross Visitation Sodality, St. Dominic’s Mothers Club, St. Joseph’s Academy Mothers Club and the Cheverus Mothers Club.

She also was a long-time member of The Mercy Hospital Auxiliary and an active member of the Jimmy Fund during the 1950s. She spent countless hours working for the Nephrosis Foundation and helped to found the Kidney Foundation of Maine. After experiencing macular degeneration, Tully became involved in the Iris Society of Maine and was nominated to its board of directors.

Tully was honored in 2001 by the Sisters of Mercy and received the Frances Warde Recognition for her compassionate service and commitment.

Tully was predeceased by her husband of 49 years, Ralph, in 1990; a son-in-law, Robert E. Wallace, in 2011; five sisters, Isabelle Jones, Gertrude Conroy, Cecile Fecteau, Claire Grimaldi and Bernadette DesRoberts; and a brother, John Emond. In addition, she was predeceased by a very close sister-in-law, Alma G. Tully, and longtime friends Jim and Jan Gibbons, George and Peg Pelletier, and Steve and Barbara McDonough.

Survivors include a daughter, Louise Wallace, of Barrington Hills, Ill.; two sons, Paul F. Tully, and his wife, Barbara, of South Portland, and Roger M. Tully, and his wife, Maria, of Whippany, N.J.; two sisters, Florence Emond and Frances Boilard of Biddeford; eight grandchildren, Katrine Wallace, Karen Herbert, and her husband, Paul, Paul F. Tully, and his wife, Kathleen, Matthew Tully, and his wife, Heather, David Tull,y and his wife, Rosemarie, Jeffrey Tully, and his wife, Elizabeth, Kristen Tully and Lauren Tully; 10 great-grandchildren, Liam Donohoe, Nora Herbert, Josie Herbert, Christopher Tully, Eileen Tully, Anne Tully, Michael Tully, Cooper Tully, Makenna Tully and Elianna Tully; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.

Visitation was held June 28 at the Conroy-Tully Crawford South Portland Chapel, 1024 Broadway, South Portland. A Mass of Christian burial was celebrated June 29 at Holy Cross Church, with burial at Calvary Cemetery, South Portland.

If desired, donations in her memory may be made to: Sisters Adorers of the Precious Blood, 166 State St., Portland, ME 04101, or to Patient Activity Fund, South Portland Nursing Home, 42 Anthoine St., South Portland, ME 04106.

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