Obituary: Ida McNamara, 1956-2020 | Obituaries | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Obituary: Ida McNamara, 1956-2020

Longtime nurse, world traveler and proud grandmother checked a lot off her bucket list

Published February 11, 2020 at 4:00 a.m.
Updated April 23, 2020 at 10:11 a.m.

Ida McNamara
  • Ida McNamara

Ida Jean McNamara lost her spirited, two-year battle with ovarian cancer on February 4, 2020, on World Cancer Day, surrounded by her family. She was 63.

Ida was born to Orie and Pearl Schaper on May 1, 1956, in Midland Park, N.J. She graduated from Midland Park High School in 1974 and received a BS in nursing from the University of Vermont in 1978.

She began her nursing career at Beth Israel hospital in Boston and moved to the Waltham VNA and private-duty nursing for a severely handicapped infant before relocating to Vermont in 1985. In Vermont, she worked as a floor nurse at Medical Center Hospital of Vermont before joining University Pediatrics in 1987. Ida’s final career move was to the University of Vermont Medical Center's Children’s Specialty Center, where she met the needs of infants, toddlers, children and teens with kidney ailments as a pediatric nephrology nurse, assisting her mentor and friend, Dr. Ann Guillot. She was a role model and mentor to many young residents and nurses who were privileged to work with her.

Ida was predeceased by her parents, Pearl and Orie Schaper, and by her special brother Albert, who had Down syndrome. She is survived by her loving husband of 40 years, Mike of Colchester, Vt., and two daughters: Sarah Morneau and her husband, Brett, of Nantucket, Mass., and Rebecca Faour and her husband, Rami, of Colchester, Vt. She leaves four treasured young grandchildren: Rima and Aida Faour and Mac and Mary Morneau. She also leaves her brother William Schaper and his wife, Anne, of Midland Park, N.J.; her nephew William Schaper II and his wife, Michelle; her niece Holly Monroe; and her niece Laura Astorino and her husband, Nick, all of New Jersey. Ida is also survived by her mother-in-law, Mary Delaney, of Peabody, Mass.; sister-in-law Maureen Delaney and her husband, Shaun MacCallum, and their sons David and James of Waltham, Mass.; and brother-in-law Joseph Delaney and his wife, Jennifer, and their children Matthew, Katie and Julia, all of Reading, Mass.

Ida’s smile was genuine and beautiful; with a twinkle in her eye and easy manner, she made friends easily. She had much love for those with special needs, fostered by her close relationship with her brother Albert. Her love of infants and children was boundless, both professionally and personally. That she was blessed with four grandchildren in less than four years was the most precious gift she could have received.

She was a marvelous cook, the principal architect of feasts at Thanksgiving and Christmas, and she always hosted and prepared the main course at the annual Fine Food and Wine dinner at the McNamaras. She loved slipping away with Mike to the Friends Lake Inn in the Adirondacks for long weekends of fun and fine dining.

Ida loved Vermont, relishing road trips with Mike to the Champlain Islands, Lincoln Peak Winery and foliage rides in the Northeast Kingdom. Her very favorite place was along the shores of Lake Willoughby, where she and Mike bought a place in 2015. She loved renovating and furnishing the cottage on the beautiful “Lake Lucerne of America.”

Beyond Vermont, she loved trips with Mike to Naples, Fla.; the Caribbean; Big Sur; and Acadia and Grand Canyon national parks. Special trips included a jaunt to Paris with Mike and the girls, and an epic two-week road trip down the Oregon Coast with close friends Jon Harris, Linda Streeter, and Kenn and Judy Sassorossi that included Redwoods and Crater Lake national parks.

Ida was a loyal fan of the Mets and Packers before she converted to the Red Sox and Patriots. She was an ardent UVM men’s basketball season ticket holder, and she attended the epic win over Syracuse in the 2006 NCAA Tournament. She and Mike followed the Cats to the Islands of the Bahamas Showcase in 2017, shortly before her cancer diagnosis.

Ida’s final year was a bucket-list year: a trip to the Brooklyn Bowl to see NOLA friends John “Papa” Gros and the Stooges Brass Band in January; a week in Cocoa Beach with the kids and grandkids in February; a trip to Hartford to see UVM in the NCAAs in mid-March; a Mardi Gras weekend at Hotel Vermont with Bonerama; the birth of grandchild No. 4 in late March; a long weekend in Boston for a Red Sox game and a visit to the Isabella Steward Gardner Museum in May; an amazing two-week road trip around the coast of Ireland with friends Jon Harris and Linda Streeter in July; a weeklong family reunion at Lake Willoughby in August; and a weekend at Patriot Place in October, seeing the Patriots beat the Browns.

The family would like to sincerely thank Dr. Cheung Wong and his staff, Dr. Paul Unger and his staff, the staff at UVMMC’s Miller 5, VNA Home Hospice Staff, and the loving care from everyone at the McClure Miller Respite House. We especially thank all of the nurses involved for lovingly taking care of one of their own. God bless you all.

A celebration of Ida’s life will take place in the spring, with a separate announcement. By her wishes, her ashes will be spread at Lake Willoughby this summer.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a gift to one of Ida’s favorite charities: the Special Olympics, the Children’s Miracle Network or Healing Winds.

Arrangements are in the care of Champlain Cremation (

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