HARWICH – Helen T. Merigan, who retired to Harwich after 30 years in Abington, passed away peacefully at home surrounded by family on April 8. Described by her family as a gentle and loving mother and grandmother, she was also fiercely independent and self-sufficient.Daughter of John Francis Murray and Ellen Broderick Murray, Helen grew up in Dorchester before moving with her family to Quincy where she finished high school and went on to business school. Helen worked for a number of years for the president of C.F. Hovey's department store in Boston, which was eventually taken over by Jordan Marsh. Not one to sit still for long, Helen enjoyed taking the snow train to New Hampshire, dancing and joining her friends in activities at St. Ann's Parish Church in Wollaston.While working in Boston, Helen met and married the late William H. Merigan and they enjoyed 49 years together raising seven children. They settled in Abington and took advantage of all that Mother Nature offered from their large back yard growing and preserving fruits and vegetables for their large family.Once her children were in school, Helen enjoyed a long career as assistant to the principal of Woodsdale Elementary School in Abington.Helen was an avid reader and particularly enjoyed historical biographies. She took great pleasure in completing crossword puzzles daily, played cribbage regularly with friends and challenged family members to the game whenever they were in the mood to lose. Gardening, sewing and knitting came easily to her and family members treasure their personally-crafted afghans. A lifelong hockey fan, Helen also enjoyed watching any sports match involving Boston College.Helen was a communicant of Holy Trinity Church in Harwich, attending daily mass before meeting friends for coffee. Helen is survived by her children Edward Merigan and wife Debra of Dennis, William Merigan of Rochester, NY, Paula Glennon of Harwich, Richard Merigan of Brewster, Maryann Merigan of Watertown, Marjorie Giudice and husband John of Avon, Connecticut, Christine Dorman and husband Garrie of Sagamore Beach and Frances Merigan and partner Michael Tiernan of San Jose, CA.Always happiest when "her gang" was around, Nana hosted most holiday gatherings for her family including her grandchildren Garrie Dorman, Patrick Merigan, Natalia Barbieri, Dustin Lipson, Leighanne Deering, Ashley Monturio, Timothy Dorman, Christopher Merigan, Christina Glennon, Michael Glennon, Alexander Merigan, Jessica Merigan, Kevin Merigan. Her family has grown with the addition of fifteen great grandchildren.Visitation will be held Saturday, April 16, from 9:00 am to 10:30 at the Doane, Beal & Ames Funeral Home at 260 Main Street in West Harwich, followed by an 11:00 funeral mass at Holy Trinity Church, next door to the funeral home. Interment will be at Holy Trinity Cemetery in Harwich.