Mildred “Millie” O’Brien Tudor was born in Brighton in 1918 and graduated from Saint Columbkille in the school’s first co-ed high school class in 1936. She enjoyed the camaraderie of basketball and making art. She was also on the yearbook staff and prom committee her senior year. Millie’s faith was very important to her. She frequently shared with family and friends that it was at Saint Columbkille that she learned about the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Millie passed away in the summer of 2020 and gave everything to her only living child, Kathleen (Kathy) Tudor, who passed away in January 2022. In her will, Kathy generously bequeathed $765,000 to the Peter McLaughlin Endowment Fund for Financial Aid at Saint Columbkille in memory of her mother. Not a woman of means, Millie had previously donated a total of $550 to the school.
“The donation from Saint Columbkille alumnus Millie O'Brien Tudor and her daughter Kathy Tudor is an incredible blessing,” says Jen Kowieski, Head of School at Saint Columbkille Partnership School. "The generosity of both Millie and Kathy will ensure that an education at Saint Columbkille will be available to all who seek it for generations to come.”
When told about the generous donation, Peter McLaughlin, former Chair of the Board and Trustee Emeritus of Saint Columbkille Partnership School, and the inspiration for the Saint Columbkille Partnership School Endowment Fund, as well as past interim President of the Boston College Alumni Association, said, “the wonderful transformational gift from Millie and Kathy Tudor will enable the school to provide financial aid to deserving students. It allows us to stay true to our mission of providing a high-quality Catholic education to all our students.”
Until her death at age 102, Millie lived in her house in Newton Centre on John Street. She cooked her own meals, did her own laundry and cared for her home by herself for many years. She even mowed her own lawn well into her 80s. She was a wonderful cook and loved sitting down for tea with the many visitors she had.
Denise Murphy was Kathy’s good friend and neighbor, and she also was close with Millie for the last 45 years of her life. She referred to herself as an adopted daughter into their family, calling Millie “Mom” and spending lots of time with her eating cookies and drinking tea.
“Millie lived a full life,” says Denise. “She was funny and so sweet. I miss her sense of humor; she could keep a room in stitches.”
When asked about Kathy’s donation to Saint Columbkille, Denise believes that Millie would have been thrilled.
“She would have said, ‘I expected nothing less from Kathy,’” shares Denise. “Millie would have wanted the money to support the education of the students at the school. And Kathy knew that her mother loved Saint Columbkille and what the school meant to her.”
Joy Seufert, whose father Kenneth Pierce was Kathy Tudor’s first cousin, fondly remembers the time she spent with both Millie and Kathy in Millie’s Newton home.
“It was just wonderful to be able to go up [to Boston] and spend time with Aunt Millie,” recalls Joy. “Aunt Millie was the best cook. Kathy taught me how to ride the T and where all the Dunkin Donuts were. I have very fond memories of that time.”
Joy shared that she and Kathy spoke every day when Kathy was in the Hebrew Rehabilitation Center in Roslindale before she passed.
“[At that time, Kathy] made it very clear how she felt about Saint Columbkille and about how important it was to her,” says Joy. “It was a big part of both Kathy and Aunt Millie. [The school] was the love, the binding force, the assistance, the help, the everything [for Millie].”
Kathy and Millie had a beautiful, loving relationship according to those who knew them. Even without much to give, they were both generous people.
“We hope to embody Millie and Kathy’s generous spirits as we offer financial support to our students,” says Kate Ward, Chief Advancement & Enrollment Officer at Saint Columbkille. “We plan to name them ‘Millie’s Scholars’ so the students who benefit from this gift will be reminded of her kind-heartedness.”
The Saint Columbkille school community strives to live out the Jesuit value of being people for and with others. Students are formed not just in academic knowledge and skills, but in how to care for others. Kathy and Millie’s gift ensures that students for generations to come will be able to grow in knowledge, service, and faith at Saint Columbkille. And the generosity of Kathy and Millie Tudor is a living example of what it means to be a person for and with others.
This monumental gift was recently covered in the May 2023 issue of the Boston College Chronicle. Read the article here.