WESTBOROUGH ----- On the morning of Friday, February 5, Dorothy Sue (Cleary) Malone, 88, died unexpectedly at home with her husband, Jim, at her side. Sue was born and raised in Boonville, MO. She was the daughter of William M. and Virginia R. (Feldmann) Cleary. After living in Kansas City, MO; Houston, TX; and College Station, TX, Sue and Jim moved to Westborough in 1971.
Sue is survived by her husband of 60 years, J.J. “Jim” Malone; by her children Michael Malone (spouse: Heidi Brenke-Malone), Barbara Malone (spouse: Karen Holmes Malone), and Patrick Malone; by daughter-in-law Nancy Malone (widow of Sue’s son Philip Malone); by grandchildren Kelly Malone, Emily Malone, Paige Malone, Matthew Malone, Sarah Malone and Jessica Malone; by her siblings William Cleary, Mary Patricia Plesha, James Cleary and Michael Cleary; and by many nieces and nephews.
Sue was a woman of many talents – a registered nurse, an organist, a passionate and outspoken advocate for peace and social justice and a budding author. As a recovery room nurse in St. Louis she was recruited by the Saint Louis University Medical School to operate the heart-lung machine for the third group in the country to do open heart surgery. While living In College Station she became the volunteer nurse for a rural poverty-stricken community and worked very hard to secure adequate medical care for the people she served. In Massachusetts she was a volunteer nurse for a homeless shelter and later a volunteer nurse helping with medical care for several refugee families.
In 1990 Sue received a bachelor’s degree from WPI and also became a grandmother. Her WPI degree program combined elements of music (some organ study), history (how hymn texts and sermons influenced the country’s revolutionary period – she received an award, not extended to many, to do research at Worcester’s Antiquarian Society) and medicine (the need for better treatment in Worcester for pediatric Aids patients). In addition to her academic program, for a number of years she studied organ under Stephen Long at Worcester’s Trinity Lutheran Church. For 13 years Sue was organist at St Luke’s Church in Westborough. After that she served as substitute organist for many churches.
Yes, she was indeed a passionate and outspoken advocate for peace and social justice. Whether it was standing in an Arizona desert as part of a protest against a death penalty execution or getting arrested in Westborough for protesting work being done on nuclear missiles or years of standing on the Westborough rotary to protest the futility and waste of war or contacting government officials, she walked the walk. Sue also joined church groups in visiting Haiti and Guatemala and saw the poverty of so many of the people. As arthritis overtook her body, action was seldom easy, but Sue would not give up. She was a long-time member of Pax Christi, the international Catholic peace organization, and was a veteran member of the board of Pax Christi Massachusetts. In 2019 that organization presented her with a Lifetime Achievement Award for over forty years of dedication to the ideals of Pax Christi. In a broader context, Sue’s heart always went out to anyone in need and she would look for ways to give assistance. Kindness was a way of life for her. One could not begin to count the number of people she helped directly or made contributions to organizations in a position to help. If there was a theme to her life, it was one of service to others
At the time of her death Sue was involved in memoir writing, telling stories of her days growing up in Boonville, of adventures as a nurse or how she met and ensnared Jim. She was a natural writer and was very adept at setting phrases to give the most impact to a story. Friends and people in a writing group she had been part of were very impressed. Alas, that project will not now be completed.
As word of Sue’s death spread condolences and comments came in from many she had known. A sampling of those comments: Sue was characterized as a strong and determined woman, an inspiration to others, a dedicated witness for peace, a tireless worker to achieve goodness on this earth and a beacon of hope and shining example of a call to follow Christ. Of course, the family knew her as a very loving and concerned wife, mother and grandmother who will be sorely missed. Some of the comments also remarked on her brownies and gingerbread people. The brownies were a popular staple for after mass gatherings at the Spirit of Life community. In the Christmas season Sue would make gingerbread boys and girls and decorate them with the recipients’ names. In the peak years she made almost 300. Lots of work, but she enjoyed making people happy with them.
When Sue and Jim met in the summer of 1959 the first thing he said was, “Where did you get those big blue eyes?” She thought this was a stupid comment (it was) and looked back at him and replied, “I paint them on every morning.” He responded, “Even the little red lines?” She found this so funny that she immediately thought of him as marriage material. Unsuspecting Jim did not know what was in store for him. At a St. Patrick’s party the following March – possibly under the influence of green beer – Sue stomped her foot and declared, “I am not going to chase you forever.” They then started dating and, later that year, were married on Thanksgiving Day.
Because of covid-19 concerns there will be no calling hours and the funeral mass will be limited to immediate family. If one wishes to make a donation in memory of Sue, an appropriate one would be: Pax Christi USA, 415 Michigan Avenue, NE, Suite 240, Washington, DC 20017.