Catherine Olivia Morrow Condit, known as Holly, died at her home in Weston on June 29, 2023. A psychologist and special education teacher, she had also been a proofreader for the Provincetown Independent since May 2022. Holly was 54.
Born in Boston on July 11, 1968 to Edward Morrow Condit Jr. and Nancy Crawford Condit, Holly grew up in Weston and graduated from Milton Academy in 1987. She went on to Connecticut College and then earned a master’s degree in clinical psychology from Lesley University in 2000.
I was a nervous seventh-grader on the first day of a new school, Milton Academy, waiting for a bus outside the Great Wok on Route 9 in Wellesley, my knee socks pulled smoothly within an inch of my wraparound skirt. Another girl was getting out of her car for her first day, too. I recognized her worried look and excited anticipation. Thus began my lifelong friendship with Holly Condit.
We started by giggling — a lot — in the back of the bus early in the morning and in the afternoon dark on the long ride home. I was a serious kid, not giggly, so this was a great release for me. Over the years I saw how much more there was to this free-spirited, independent thinker.
Holly was a brilliant linguist with a keen ear for foreign languages. While some of us struggled in language lab with our French, Holly was speaking with a perfect accent in full sentences. She carried this love on to Italian.
She had an uncanny memory for song lyrics. I was always astonished by this. I would listen to the song and hear the music, but she would capture every word and understand the poetry of it. I especially remember her facility with Kate Bush’s The Kick Inside.
She was a generous and wise listener, with great compassion for those who are often unseen. One of my children has developmental delays. Observing Holly listen to him and find ways to communicate always touched my heart. One day, when he was upset in the car, we called her up. Over the miles and a so-so connection, she responded with intuitive, thoughtful questions that made him feel thoroughly heard and loved. She saved the day.
She was meant to be of service to the world, and this was manifested when she got her master’s degree and worked with special needs children and in therapeutic settings, beginning in the Newton schools and then as a counselor at Walden Hospital in Waltham. She spent much of her career in human resources, with stints at Healthdrive in Wellesley and later at Home Street Bank and Eddie Bauer in Seattle.
Holly had an unusual innocence for an educated and sophisticated person — she taught me how to make crepes in the early ’80s when they weren’t a thing, and she fed me my first sushi. Her posture in the world was free-spirited and guileless, which made her feel out of step at times. But what a wonderful quality to have. The marginalization, injustice, and harsh circumstances that others experience all tugged mightily at her heartstrings.
Now grown, my children remember her tender and present engagement with them whenever our paths would converge. She was 100-percent there, interested, selfless, fun, admiring, affirmative. This human connection isn’t what the world at large values. Yet none of us can live happily without it.
Our last chapter involved the invisible corner of the universe that is the Independent copy desk. As the two main proofreaders, we spent many a late night watching and enjoying each other’s corrections and comments from our home offices and bantering by text in between, sipping cups of matcha “together” to stay awake. She loved this work and breathed in the varied, dramatic, fascinating, beautiful, and sometimes sad tableau of the Outer Cape without ever having lived here.
Now I think of her with a smile, wondering what mischief she’s into in the world beyond this one, imagining how she’s spreading her empathy and creativity, and wistful that my portion of it is over for now.
Holly is survived by her parents of Weston and her cousins Nichola Conze of North Carolina and Louisa Conze of Illinois.
Memorial donations may be sent to College Success at Perkins, Attention Leslie Thatcher, Perkins School for the Blind, 175 North Beacon St., Watertown 02472.