Mary Theresa Cahillane, 56, died early Wednesday morning, July 4, 2012 at her Royal Oak, Michigan home. She was born in Chicago, the daughter of Thomas and Margaret (McGinnis) Cahillane. Those close to her fondly called her Theresa. Her final days were spent surrounded by family and friends that Theresa had touched in some small way throughout her very memorable life.
Theresa was uniquely musical. She started playing the guitar and button accordion at a very young age. As she grew older Theresa learned to play the banjo, flute, fiddle, mandolin, and the piano. Theresa began her lifelong musical career playing guitar with the 'New Group' at Saint Nicholas of Tolentine Church on Chicago's southwest side with her dear friend Ray Menard. Later in life she could often be heard playing Irish jigs and reels on the button accordion at her bar, 'Callahan's Pub' or at Gaelic Park Festivals in Chicago. Ms. Cahillane played at private events for years with her popular Irish band, 'The Moonshiners.' Eventually, after she moved to Michigan, she created her musical retail business, 'Fiddles and Flutes' of Royal Oak.
Ms. Cahillane was a proud, active member of the 12-Step Community, and when she passed away she was just a few weeks shy of 25 years sobriety. Theresa helped countless others seeking to overcome their alcohol and drug addiction by sharing her experience, strength and hope. Many are grateful for her wisdom, sponsorship, humor, and quick wit. A touching event this year was her final 12-step meeting when Theresa was too ill to travel, so her home group took the meeting to Theresa in her living room. She truly lived her life by the twelve-steps.
She leaves behind her loving brothers Greg and Thomas of Bloomfield Township; sister Margaret Blackwood of Sterling Heights; and brother Patrick and wife Pauline of Cloghan, Offaly, Ireland . She also leaves a niece Kerry and her husband Stephen Walker of Scottsdale, Arizona; niece Jessica Blackwood of Royal Oak; nieces and nephew Ashley, Stephen, and Kaitlin, of Cloghan, Offaly, Ireland; and great nephew Dylan Phipps of Royal Oak. She was predeceased by her mother Margaret, father Thomas, brother Stephen, sister in law Patricia and stepmother Rosemary.
Funeral services will be private. A memorial service will be held at Farina’s Banquet Center at 1 PM on July 28, 2012 at 2485 Coolidge Highway, Berkley, MI 48072.
Memorial gifts in Ms. Cahillanes' memory can be made to the National Catholic Council on Addictions, 1601 Joslyn Road, Lake Orion, MI 48360.