GUILDERLAND – Marilyn H. Cantwell (Hebert), a long time resident of Albany, died at Our Lady of Mercy Life Center on May 17, 2014. Born in Cohoes in 1930 to the late William J and Genevieve (Gildea) Hebert and sister of the late Col. William Hebert (Alice), Marilyn was married for 49 years to the late Edgar D. Cantwell Jr., who predeceased her in 2008. She is survived by two sons, Michael Cantwell of Selkirk and Daniel Cantwell (Sarah) of Albany and her prized grandchildren, Molly and D.J.
Marilyn was a 1947 graduate of Cohoes High School and furthered her education by earning her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at New York State Teacher’s College. She taught 8th grade at Van Rensselaer High School for a year and worked briefly at General Electric before a long stint as a Kindergarten teacher at Vincentian Grade School in Albany. She wrapped up her professional career working as a Secretary for Albany County, both for the Sheriff’s Office and the Finance Department.
Although at times unintentionally, and oftentimes related to her hearing loss, Marilyn always had the ability to make us laugh. She also accomplished much throughout her long life. As a child, she overcame a serious battle with polio that left her with an atrophied leg and profound limp and with chronic pain. When prompted about her high school career, she might reluctantly and matter-of-factly admit that she won many academic awards and had the highest average of any girl in her graduating class. The impact she had as a teacher lived on long after she retired. We lost track of the times when we were introduced to someone, who upon hearing the name “Cantwell,” immediately brightened up and asked, “did your mother teach Kindergarten?” This was routinely followed by, “she was my favorite teacher!” and more often than not the former student would as if on cue, begin flawlessly reciting the presidents of the USA in tribute.
Marilyn was a long time member of first St. Vincent De Paul and then Holy Cross parishes and was unwavering in her Catholic faith and in her belief that she would one day be reunited with Edgar and her parents.
The family would like to thank the entire caring staff at Our Lady of Mercy, especially those in the Fatima Unit. Although we have no doubt that the standard of care towards our mother did not waver at other times of the day, because we interacted with the early evening weekday staff the most, we would like to single them out for their never ending compassion and concern. At the risk of slighting others, we nevertheless wish to offer special thanks to those whom we got to know and rely on the most, including nurses Kathy, Millie, Mary and Lisa and aides Caitlin, Rich, and Jay.
Funeral services will be held in the Hans Funeral Home, 1088 Western Ave., Albany, Wednesday morning at 9:00, and from there to St. Vincent DePaul Church, 900 Madison Ave., Albany, at 10:00. Relatives and friends are invited, and may call at the funeral home Tuesday from 4-7 pm. Interment will be in St. Agnes Cemetery, Menands. Contributions to Alzheimer’s research are recommended for those wishing to remember Marilyn in a special way. To leave a message of condolence for the family, or obtain directions to the funeral home, please visit www.HansFuneralHome.com.