Denise (Gagner) Wilkie, 64, passed away on November 11th, at Salem Hospital in Salem, MA, after a long illness.
Denise was the fourth child of Peter F. Gagner and Lillian M. (Ritchie) Gagner. She had many happy memories from her childhood growing up on Knight Ave. in Attleboro, MA: growing up with her siblings on the little farm; running around the neighborhood with her brother Peter and their friends; family vacations with her aunt, Agnes Beckwith, in Maine; holiday visits from her sister Suzanne Fitzgerald and her husband J. Edward Fitzgerald and their sons John Patrick Fitzgerald, Michael Matthew Fitzgerald, and Daniel Luke Fitzgerald; cooking with her mother and gardening with her father.
Denise leaves behind: her daughter, Gwendolyn Ann (Wilkie) McCarthy, and her husband, James Brian McCarthy; her three grandchildren, Julien Peter McCarthy, Braeden James McCarthy, and Lillien Rose McCarthy; her sister, Paulette Gagner, and her husband Michael J. Reilly; her sister Suzanne (Gagner) Fitzgerald; her brother, Peter Frederick Gagner, Jr.; and, her ex-husband, Gwendolyn’s father, Wallace Dean Wilkie. Denise was predeceased by her parents, her sister, Christine (Gagner) Atkinson, and her brother-in-law J. Edward Fitzgerald.
Denise worked as a function manager at the Providence Biltmore Hotel and as a bartender at Center Stage in Providence, RI and Fiddler’s Green in Warwick, RI. She attended the pharmacy technician program at Memorial Hospital in Pawtucket, RI. Her proudest moment was graduating from the program at the top of her class, with the highest scores in the state of RI. She enjoyed working at Landmark Medical Center in Wonsocket, RI where she excelled in preparing complex iv infusions.
Denise loved making wreaths, gardening, preparing for the holidays for her family, cooking gourmet meals, restoring furniture, and needlework. She enjoyed fashion, makeup, rock and roll, scratch tickets, a good steak dinner, and a glass of bourbon or tipple of Goldschlager.
Most of all, Denise loved her family and friends. As a young mother, she raised her daughter, Gwendolyn, surrounded with the love and support of her family. She cared for her mother and father at their home when their health declined. She enjoyed spending time with her former sister-in-law, Donna Wilkie and her ex-husband, Daniel Kulaga, and their sons, Cullen, Brendan and Jared. Her sister, Paulette, was her best friend and some of Denise’s fondest memories were of boating on Narragansett Bay and visiting Block Island with Paulette and her husband Michael and friends from Harbor Light Marina in Warwick, RI.
Denise taught Gwendolyn to be brave, resourceful, compassionate, and resilient. She encouraged her to pursue an education and was so proud of raising a daughter who became an attorney, wife (she introduced Gwendolyn to James!), and mother of three. “Grandma Denny” loved Julien, Braeden, and Lillien, hearing about their adventures always made her smile.
Denise counted among her friends many of the staff from Pilgrim Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Center in Peabody, MA, where she resided for over 10 years. Her family would like to recognize their exemplary care, warmth, compassion, humor, and friendship.
Services will be held on Monday, November 21st, 2022 at the Foley-Cook-Hathaway funeral home in Attleboro, MA from 11am-12pm with prayers beginning at 12pm in the funeral home. Burial will follow at Newell Burying Ground in Attleboro, and a reception will follow at Spumoni’s in Pawtucket, RI.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charity that is working to treat and cure Crohn’s disease.