School 25

Mary Paula (Dunleavy) Birdsey

August 12, 1943 ~ December 9, 2019 (age 76)


Mary Paula (Dunleavy) Birdsey, 76 passed away on Monday December 9, 2019.  She was the beloved wife of Donald Birdsey for 52 Years.  Mary Paula was born in Burlington, Vermont, daughter of the late Harold and Helen (Welch) Dunleavy. 

Mary Paula graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School and from Central Connecticut State College with a BS and MS in Business Education.  She began her teaching career at Bacon Academy in Colchester, CT, and then taught part-time at Middlesex Community College when her boys were young.  As they reached school age, she began teaching full-time at South Central Community College, now Gateway Community College in New Haven, CT, in the Business Department where she became a Professor.  She developed and implemented new courses in the department and received a Merit Recognition Award in 1994, and the Educational Excellence and Distinguished Services Award in 1998.  In 2001, she was named Connecticut’s Business Educator of the year by the Connecticut Business Education Association. When she retired she was named Professor Emerita.  After retiring, she returned to the college part-time for several years to serve as Coordinator of Online Learning where she helped her former colleagues put their courses online.

Mary Paula and Don married in 1967 and lived in Middletown for several years before moving to the Rockfall section of Middlefield where they lived for many years.  They returned to Middletown in 2000. Mary Paula served on the Levi Coe Library’s Board and was an active member of her church, St. Elizabeth Seton, where she served on the Finance Committee, the Stewardship Committee, and the Welcoming Committee.  Currently, she was a member of the Prayer Shawl Ministry and the Knit, Crochet, Sew, Good Works.

Besides her loving husband, Donald, she is survived by her sons Brian and Matthew and his wife, Nicole.  She adored her three granddaughters, Aubrey, Katelyn, and Emily Birdsey and her sister Dottie Kunze and her husband George.  She also leaves her sisters-in-law Ann Dunleavy and Barbara Gustafson and several nieces, nephews, cousins, and life-long friends.

 Along with her parents, she was predeceased by her brother, Daniel Dunleavy.

Mary Paula’s family will receive relatives and friends from 9:00 AM to 10:30 AM at the Doolittle Funeral Home, 14 Old Church Street, Middletown on Friday, December 13, 2019. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11:00 AM at St. Josephine Bakhita Parish @ St. Elizabeth Seton Church of located at 280 Brook Street in Rocky Hill. Burial will follow in Pine Grove Cemetery, Middletown.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in Mary Paula’s memory be made to the American Cancer Society, 825 Brook Street, I-91 Tech Ctr., Rocky Hill, CT 06067. To share memories or send condolence to the family please visit

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Mary Paula (Dunleavy) Birdsey, please visit our floral store.


December 13, 2019

9:00 AM to 10:30 AM
Doolittle Funeral Home
14 Old Church Street
Middletown, CT 06457

Funeral Service
December 13, 2019

11:00 AM
St Josephine Bakhita Parish @ St. Elizabeth Seton Church
280 Brook Street
Rocky Hill, CT 06067

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