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Doris Lynch Leaves her Legacy with VNA Care’s Hospice

Giving back to the community she cared about so deeply was simply the way Doris Lynch lived her life. Her commitment to helping others became part of her legacy through a bequest to VNA Care’s hospice program.

“She really cared about people. She took great fun and joy in the happy things in life, and wanted to be there to help people whenever she could when things were challenging,” remembered her niece, Marietta Lynch.

Doris was born in Woburn and lived in the city for more than 90 years. Many knew her as a beloved teacher and former chair of the business education department at Woburn High School and as an active member of St. Charles Borromeo Church in Woburn.

She saw firsthand how VNA Care’s hospice team makes a difference in the lives of patients and their loved ones during her sister Helen Lynch’s terminal illness. Doris later joined the hospice’s board of directors.

Wanting to do even more, she established the Woburn Friends of VNA Hospice & Palliative Care in 1992. The volunteer group, under Doris’ leadership for many years, is dedicated to raising funds to support the nonprofit’s work and awareness of hospice care. The group has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for end-of-life care through such activities as the annual Step Out for Hospice walk/run, which marked its 25th anniversary last year.

Even when Doris handed off her leadership role, she remained active in the Woburn Friends, who she thought were an “extraordinary group of people,” according to Marietta. Doris sponsored Step Out for Hospice and mobilized her entire family in her fundraising efforts. Marietta herself is a longtime supporter of VNA Care’s hospice services as a sponsor of Step Out for Hospice.

Marietta said, “I think my aunt was not only caring and active in her commitments, but she was also smart in understanding how things worked and what would be a good way to really pursue those same values as times changed.”

One of those ways was to include a charitable bequest to VNA Care’s hospice program in her will, an act of gratitude that Marietta said had been very important to her aunt. Her gift leaves an enduring impact by helping others to live out their final days and weeks with dignity through compassionate care. Doris passed away on Oct. 19, 2021, at age 98.

Jamie Kelley, co-chair of the Woburn friends, said that Doris “showed so many people the importance of giving back. She was somebody who brought people together and was always so appreciative of the work we all did. I strive to emulate Doris.”

Pictured, first row, from left: Doris Lynch, founder of the Woburn Friends of VNA Hospice & Palliative Care, and Jamie Kelley, co-chair of the Friends. Second row: Marietta Lynch, longtime sponor of Step Out for Hospice; Connie McGilvray, vice chair of the Friends; and Brian Kelley, co-chair of the Friends