Winifred “Polly” Harlow

  • Born: July 17, 1918
  • Died: December 18, 2009
  • Location: Melrose, Massachusetts

Robinson Funeral Home

809 Main Street
Melrose, MA 02176
Tel. (781) 665-1900

Tribute & Message From The Family

Mrs. Winifred “Polly” (Libby) Harlow, a resident of Wakefield and formerly of Melrose, passed away on December 18, 2009 at Wakefield Care and Rehabilitation Center after a period of declining health. She was 91 years old. Winifred or “Polly” as she was well known, was born in Somerville on July 17, 1918, one of two daughters of the late Harold S. Libby and Alice W. (Bronson) Libby. She was raised and educated in Littleton, New Hampshire and attended Bates College. She married her late husband, Burton, in 1938 and settled in Melrose with her family. As a lifelong musician, Polly was a piano teacher for much of her life. She was a member of various orchestral groups including the Polymnia Society, the Church choir, and the Beethoven Society. Polly was an artist. She took oil painting classes in Wakefield, belonged to Sit’n Knit in Melrose and enjoyed knitting, drawing birds, sketching, and painting.

She was the beloved wife of the late Burton T. Harlow with whom she shared 44 years of marriage. Devoted mother of Joyce W. Nixon of Wakefield, Donna L. Harlow of Mastic Beach, NY, Cheryl A. Bienlein of Columbia, SC and the late Bruce H. Harlow and Kenneth D. Harlow. Dear sister of the late Elizabeth Ranks. Cherished grandmother of William Nixon, III of Atlanta, GA, Douglas B. Nixon of Chicago, IL, Shandra English of Titusville, FL, Joanna Oswald of Douglasville, GA, Alayna Harper of Newnan, GA, Tamara Dennehy of Belchertown, Kathleen Brown of Framingham, Racheal Tanner of Columbia, SC, and Christopher Bienlein of Washington, DC. Also survived by 16 loving great-grandchildren.

Funeral Service at the Melrose Highlands Congregational Church, 355 Franklin St., Melrose, Tuesday, December 22 at 12 noon. Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to attend. Visiting hours at the Robinson Funeral Home, 809 Main St., MELROSE, Monday from 4-8 PM. Interment in Pine Grove Cemetery, Westborough. Gifts in her memory may be made to the Memorial Fund at the Church, 355 Franklin St., Melrose 02176.


Condolence & Memory Journal


I am so sorry to hear that Mrs. Harlow has passed away. I was one of her piano students from 1960 until 1967. She was such a kind and patient person and I loved her. I wish I could have been at her service today, but just found out about it. In memory of her, I played some of my favorite pieces on the piano at 12:15. I am thankful that she encouraged my love of music. Again, I am sorry for your loss.

Posted by Katy (Harris) Richardson - Peterborough, NH - piano student   December 28, 2009

So sorry to hear of the death of your mother. She sounded like quite a lady! You are fortunate to have grown up in a house full of music & art. I remember Polly accompanying your brother on walks down Myrtle Ave. Best wishes to you and your famliy as you anticipate the coming New Year and new way of being in this world without mother.

Posted by Yvonne & Bill Heffner - wakefield, MA - Myrtle Ave. neighbor (w/3 dogs)   December 22, 2009

During the nearly fifty years that I have known Polly she so often inspired me by her generosity, her creativity, and her capacity to treat those who came in contact with her with compassion and understanding. Polly influenced so many lives in a positive way.
I am very sorry for this great loss to her family and friends.

Posted by Bill Nixon    December 19, 2009