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Mary Ellen Shields Saunders
October 06, 2019


Saunders, Mary Ellen Shields, RN, Daugher of Joseph and Josephine (Mroczka) Shields died October 6, 2019. Born January 21, 1936 in “Poleville” Needham, graduated from Needham High School in 1953, and Newton-Wellesley Hospital School of Nursing in 1956. Wife to John L. Saunders of Wellesley for 55 years, mother of Jo-Ellen of Brighton, MA, Joseph of Holliston, MA and John of Woodstock, NH. Grandmother to Jonah, Jonathan, and Jane.

She was very active with her nursing school alumni association until it closed. She was a member of the St. James the Great Parish Women’s Guild, Wellesley and the St. Julia’s, Weston bible study group.

She was well known for seasonally changing the window decorations on her Weston Road home, and over the years many regular commuters left notes of appreciation in the mailbox. She gave to those in need, frequently to distant family members in Poland, to whom she sent packages of clothes and pantry staples. Most recently she packaged school supplies and books for children of multiple Indian mission schools. She was an avid reader, and always had a gift to give a visiting child. She regularly opened her house to visiting Japanese exchange students, many of whom she stayed in contact with.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Reyes Syndrome Foundation. Her son, Joseph, suffered from Reyes Syndrome as a child. The disease left him severely disabled, and Mary Ellen and John have been caring for him ever since. Thanks to Mary Ellen’s advocacy, she with other parents made Reye’s Syndrome a reportable medical condition in Massachusetts. Interment will be private. All friends and family are welcome to the memorial Mass on Saturday, October 12 at 10:00 AM at St. Julia’s Church in Weston followed by a short reception in the church hall.

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George F. Doherty & Sons Funeral Homes
477 Washington Street
Wellesley, MA 02482