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Irene B. (Bovat) Gailius

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Joyce Funeral Home

245 Main Street
Waltham, MA 02453
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Memories & Candles

“I never knew Irene but what an amazing woman. Actually, I was born at Chelsea Naval Hospital before she began working there. My deepest sympathy to...Read More »
1 of 4 | Posted by: Stephanie Zappelli - Woburn, MA

Helen and Irene last September. We are all God's children......Irene was so dear.....
2 of 4 | Posted by: Helen Bibinski

“I extend my deepest sympathies to you Sheila and family and the Bovat family too.May the soul of your mother and sister be at peace with our heavenly...Read More »
3 of 4 | Posted by: Gorrette Kyakulagira - Fort knox, KY

“I'm so very sorry for your Loss, I'm a friend of Suzanne Alters. I wish your pain to be quick and your memory to be long! I'm again so sorry for your...Read More »
4 of 4 | Posted by: Heather Cooper - N Billerica, MA


Waltham – Lieutenant (JG) Irene B. Gailius, USA (Ret.), BSN, RN, peacefully entered into eternal rest at her residence on Wednesday, April 17, 2019, fittingly during Holy Week. She was 89.

Irene was born in Westfield, Massachusetts on September 14, 1929, and was the eldest daughter of thirteen born to the late Richard and Bernice Bovat. She went to Westfield High School and then to Sister's Hospital in Waterville, Maine to study nursing. After graduating with an RN in 1950, Irene moved to Boston to begin her caregiving career as a neuro-surgical nurse at Boston City Hospital.

Irene joined the Navy in 1956 as an officer and treated soldiers' traumatic injuries while stationed at the Chelsea Naval Hospital. She served for two years during which she met her soon to be husband, Arthur, through her best friend and fellow nurse, Vivian Gailius. The couple married in 1958 and had four daughters together over the next 12 years. Before long, Irene returned to school, her career and her many interests. She attained her Associate's Degree from MBCC in 1972 and then her BS Degree from Worcester State in 1978, both in Nursing. Throughout this time she continued to work in private duty and hospice nursing positions and even had a few notable patients, such as animal sculptor, Katharine Weems, and Freud's student-colleague Helena Deutsch.

Always forward thinking, Irene was dedicated to women's research and was an original member of, and participant in the Nurses' Health Study that began in the 1970s. She became interested in holistic healing and health, and developed her own anti-cancer diet, which she stuck to faithfully and shared generously with friends and family. Irene had many skills including calligraphy, philately, painting, and gardening with "magic soil" she cultivated from local farms, regularly producing vegetables over a foot long. She also had her own silk flower and tree business for a time. Irene loved family gatherings, telling and hearing jokes, polka dancing, and travelling. She had a weekly commitment to the dear friends she made at her bowling league who appointed her treasurer. She was also an active member of the Navy Nurse Corps Association and supported many veteran associations and charities. She was a dedicated member of St. Mary Parish, she enjoyed doing the rosary every day, and being a Eucharistic minister for many years.

Wife of the late Col. Arthur V. Gailius. (February 16, 2014) she leaves her children, Suzanne Alter (Robert) of Dunstable, Sandra J. Gailius-Garman (Dr. Richard Garman) of Natick, Sharon I. DiCicco (Stephen) and Sheila V. Brennan (Kevin) all of Waltham; her grandchildren Rachel and Sarah Garman, Dante and Dominic DiCicco and Hailey and Cole Brennan; her siblings, Paul Bovat (Doraleen), Robert Bovat (Sandy), Muriel Nihill (Gary), Doris Bonkowski (late Joseph), all of Westfield and Alice Latrell (Ted) Belchertown and the late Francis, Ray, Donald, Richard, Albert, Clifford Bovat and Jean (Bovat) Parker.

Family and friends will honor and remember Irene's life by gathering for calling hours in The Joyce Funeral Home, 245 Main Street (Rte. 20), Waltham on Friday, April 26th from 4 to 8 p.m. and again at 9 a.m. on Saturday morning before leaving in procession to Saint Mary's Church 133 School Street, Waltham where her Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Burial with military honors will follow in Mount Feake Cemetery, Waltham.

Memorial donations may be made to Saint Mary's Parish, 133 School Street, Waltham, MA 02451 or VNA Care Hospice, 100 Trade Center #G-500, Woburn, MA 01801.

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Mount Feake Cemetery

203 Prospect Street Waltham, MA 02453