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Mary Josephine Murphy Marcelonis
June 13, 2019


Mary Josephine Murphy Marcelonis of Westwood, where she resided most of her life after growing up in the Roslindale section of the City of Boston died on Thursday, June 13th. She was 87 years old.

Mary was born in Boston on October 6, 1931, she was the daughter of the late Edmond Patrick Murphy originally from Ballyre, Killeagh, County Cork, Ireland and Coolbeggan, Knockanore, County Waterford, Ireland and the late Helen (born Ellen) Agnes Canty Murphy originally from Kilnadur, Dunmanway, County Cork, Ireland. Cherished mother of Brian E. and his wife Sheila, Mary L. and the late Daniel J. Dear sister of the late Edmond P. Murphy and his wife Elizabeth, Thomas J. Murphy and his wife Corrine, James F. Murphy and his late wife Sandra, the late Kathleen E. and her husband the late Kenneth Brebner, and William J. Murphy and his wife Linda. She also leaves many firsts cousins in Ireland, her cousin Peggy Murphy Corcoran in New York City and many nieces and nephews especially her Goddaughter, Eileen Murphy, and Godson, Billy Murphy.

Mary will be remembered as a devoted mother whose family was the center of her life. She provided them with love and faith. Her legacy will endure through all the people's lives that she touched. She always had time to help those in need and thus many a Sunday dinner was filled with family and friends who were alone - food is love. If you were sick and unable to attend a meal would be delivered to you. She had a passion for her Irish heritage and travel. She was able to visit all 7 continents. She especially enjoyed her books, museums, gardens, the theatre and the performing arts. If you couldn't find her, she was probably working in the yard, feeding the ducks at the pond or walking her dog Chloe with lollipops in one pocket and dog treats in the other. After Chloe went to doggie heaven she enjoyed the company of her neighbors and friends, Todd and Kelly Sullivan’s, dog Henry.

Mary was President of the class of 1949 at Notre Dame Academy in Roxbury and was also President of the class of 1953 at Boston Teacher's College. She received a masters degree in education from Boston University in 1969. She began her professional life as a teacher in the Needham, Pembroke and Boston Public Schools before transitioning to Media Specialist in the Boston Public Schools where she retired from Brighton High School in 1996 in order to care for her mother. Mary was also a professor at Boston State College (formerly State Teachers College and now U Mass Boston) in the early seventies where she taught a class on Library Science and Media Specialties. As a person and educator, Mary was a leader both in her success and in her kindness and humility. She took great pleasure in assisting challenged students who needed guidance and direction. She especially enjoyed helping students that were applying for scholarships and sharing in their joy when their efforts were rewarded.

A Funeral Mass will be held at Holy Name Church, 1689 Centre Street, West Roxbury on Wednesday, June 19th at 10 AM. Services will conclude with the burial at Saint Joseph's Cemetery in West Roxbury. Mary also had funeral services in Knockanore (August 15) and Dunmanway (August 18), Ireland and is buried with her grandparents as well as many other family members in those locations.

Donations may be made in Mary's memory to Father Fred Enman's charity: Matthew 25, 52 Queen Street, Worcester, MA 01610 or through the website address (which does have a donate button) at or the Alzheimer's Association of MA, 309 Waverley Oaks Rd., Waltham, MA 02452 and their website:

Irish Blessing - "Ar dheas Dé go raibh a hanam dilis - May her faithful soul be on God's right hand"

Eulogy for Mary Josephine Murphy Marcelonis as given by her son, Brian E. Marcelonis, June 19, 2019, 10:00 AM Funeral Mass at Holy Name Church, West Roxbury, MA

On behalf of my sister, Mary Lou, and my wife Sheila, I would like to thank all of you who came to pay their last respects to my Mom today. I am especially appreciative to everyone who visited, called or wrote to her while she was in Saint Patrick's Manor - that kindness was immense. I would also like to thank Father Tom Nestor and Father Fred Enman who celebrated Mom's Mass today. Both of them had a special place in my Mom's heart.

Mom was born on October 6, 1931, and she died on June 13, 2019. When Mom was born, like all of us, she had no idea how long her life would span nor did she envision many of the changes to the world that she witnessed as time truly does fly. The most important aspects of Mom's life were her family and her faith. Her children, parents, brothers and sister were always the biggest part of her life. Her immediate family was always involved in her life as well as our lives. She always said, "if you don't have faith you don't have anything". Her faith was the compass for preserving her moral code and always trying to help someone in need. What a beautiful and fitting testimony to her character and integrity.

The game of life presents some laughs and smiles along with some bitter challenges that we wish never happened but that’s how life works--the good with the bad, keep a stiff upper lip and keep on going one step at a time which is exactly what my mother did; she fought until she was too tired to fight any longer. Mom lived life her way.

My Uncle Jim always said that my mother as the oldest child of Irish immigrants was raised like an Irish kid and the rest of us were raised as Americans. Uncle Jim was correct. Mom was influenced by the Irish elders in the family who had been exposed to British colonialism. My grandfather's aunt lived with them, my grandmother's aunt was another constant in her life and then there were the Sunday trips out to visit grandfather's Uncle Bill in Dedham. Most of my grandparents friends were Irish immigrants so Irish family, heritage and culture were ingrained in her the minute she was born. My grandparents were committed to the hope of a new beginning they brought with them from Ireland. My grandparents were survivors who taught Mom the lessons of hard work and humbleness that she exhibited throughout her life.

Mom would listen to tales of Ireland and my grandfather would talk about working in England and Wales and visiting the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland. My Mom's uncle, Monsignor Thomas Murphy, had left Ireland to join his two uncles who were Catholic priests in Australia as well as many other members of the Murphy family. When he visited my Mom absorbed all the family history and the mystery of Australia. Most of Mom's cousins live in Ireland so in 1965, when time and finances permitted, she took my grandmother home to the Emerald Isle for her first time since she had left in 1928. I was privileged to be able to join them. That was the first of 20 trips back to visit her Irish roots. That trip coupled with all the stories she had heard from her father and uncle about these distant places as well as her intellectual curiosity triggered an insatiable appetite for travel. Mom went on to visit several countries and all 7 continents. Even though Mom really couldn't speak towards the end, I often asked her if she wanted to go to Ireland with Sheila and me this summer and she would nod her head yes every time.

I looked up to my mother as she upheld and personified what morality, love, caring, kindness, pride, accountability and responsibility meant. She was very independent, dared to be different and wasn't afraid to speak her mind. She stood in the face of time and exhibited those qualities to all and was unwavering in her commitment to these values. She was passionately committed to the ideals that she wore on her sleeve every minute of every day. While I prepared for Mom’s burial, I spoke to some of Mom’s close friends and confidants who were with her through thin and thick. The words special, generous and kind were repeated over and over. One of her former students that she taught in 3rd grade at the Joyce Kilmer School in West Roxbury wrote to me yesterday, "If there were more Mrs. Marcelonis walking the earth the world would be a happier, safer and smarter place. I hope you take comfort knowing how many lives she touched and how full a life she led. She walks with God now." What a fitting testament to a gentle woman!

Mom experienced a lot and saw a lot. She was there for me when I needed her and she served double duty as both a mother and father. In spite of the horrible dementia which drained the life from my mother we were able to have an opportunity where we were able to say our good-byes to one another not in the traditional sense but in the mother - child bonds that kept us connected. Mother to son and son to mother--on our terms. Proof that we should treasure every moment that we have and treasure it more because you shared it with someone special as we all know that time waits for no one.

In 1973, American soul music group, The Intruder's came out with the song, "I'll Always Love My Mama" as a tribute to their hard working mothers.

To quote from the song:

"I'll always love my mama
She brought me in this world
A mother's love is so special
It's something that you can't describe
It's the kind of love that stays with you
Until the day you die
A mother's love is so special
It's something that you can't describe
It's the kind of love that stays with you
Until the day you die"

Farewell and God’s speed Mom as you continue your journey, I know that your soul passed over Ireland on your way to heaven.

Mom, I'll always love you!

Content is coming soon...
Gormley Funeral Service
2055 Centre Street
West Roxbury, MA 02132