Ailish M. Belcher

September 22, 1958 ~ November 5, 2021 (age 63)


Ailish McKeever-Belcher, a Montessori teacher and long-time resident of Ithaca, NY, was born in Dublin, Ireland on Sep 22, 1958 to Leo and Carmel Mckeever. Ailish died of breast cancer peacefully at home with her family on November 5, 2021 at the age of 63.

While her interests were many, the defining passions of Ailish’s life were children and education. She graduated from Sion Hill Montessori College in Dublin, Ireland in 1978 and emigrated to the United States in 1979, where she met and married Neil Belcher. Over her 35-year Montessori teaching career, she shared her incredible love and instinct for teaching with over 400 children and their families across the country in Illinois, Indiana, Colorado, New Jersey and New York. The pinnacle of her teaching career was when she opened her own school in Ithaca. The Cayuga Heights Montessori House was a specifically built environment for a class of 12 children that was modeled after Maria Montessori’s Casa dei Bambini.

Ailish was an ardent lover of language and travel, diligently practicing her French and forever looking forward to her next visit to Ireland or Europe. She was well known for her wit and encyclopedic vocabulary, a writer of songs and verse and seldom a loser at Scrabble. Ailish found joy and significance wherever she went; often in the most unsuspecting places and things. She will be deeply missed by her friends, colleagues and family.She is predeceased by her parents and her brother Declan McKeever. Ailish is survived by her sisters Noreen and Susan, her husband Neil, her children Emma, Declan and Conor and her grandson Sidney.

Special thanks to the Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Kruse and Dr. Shah for their incrediable expertise and expediency. Thanks to Cayuga Medical Center, Dr. Senner, Shane, Miwa and many others. Hospicare provided amazing support thanks to Susy, Anna, Erica and Kimmy.Calling hours will be held Wednesday November 10th at Bangs Funeral Home in Ithaca, NY, 5 – 7 p.m. A funeral Mass is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. on November 11th at St. Catherine’s of Sienna Church. In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to the Cancer Resource Center, 612 W. State St., Ithaca, NY 14850


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SERVICES Visitation

Wednesday, November 10, 2021 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Bangs Funeral Home, Inc. 209 W Green St. Ithaca, New York 14850

Funeral Service

Thursday, November 11, 2021 10:00 AM

St. Catherine of Siena Church 302 St. Catherine Circle Ithaca, NY 14850

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