Obituary of Marilyn McNeil
Marilyn A. (Vaughn) McNeil, passed away at the Lahey Clinic Medical Center, on Wednesday evening, August 1, 2018. The beloved wife of the late Michael J. McNeil, she was 82 year old.
Marilyn was born and raised in Everett. She was the daughter of the late Benjamin and Elizabeth Vaughn. Marilyn was a graduate of Everett High School. After high school, she attended and graduated from Malden Hospital School of Nursing. Her first job was working at the Soldiers Home in Chelsea. Marilyn also worked at the Choate Hospital in Woburn, Woburn Nursing Center and Aberjona Nursing Center in Winchester. In addition, Marilyn did in-home dialysis for a family friend.
Marilyn and Michael were married in 1957. They moved to Burlington in 1964 where they would raise their five children. They settled into a neighborhood in Burlington on Morrison Road where their neighbors were more like members of the family. Marilyn was like a second mom to the children of the neighborhood as well as the “neighborhood nurse”. She graciously and lovingly opened the doors of her home to everyone. She shaped a home that was a nurturing, caring and loving environment. When her sister Janice passed away at a young age, Marilyn embraced her niece Donna and nephew Richard. She loved them as her own. Donna and Richard, along with other relatives, loved to spend summer vacations with the McNeil family in Burlington.
Marilyn and Michael had a wonderful life together. They weren’t just husband and wife they were the closest of friends and inseparable. They never wavered in their love and commitment to each other. Marilyn and Mike were role models for their children and grandchildren on how marriage and family should be. When the children were younger, the family vacationed each year during the week leading up to Labor Day. A new location was selected each year. One memorable trip was to Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. When her children were older, they continued to vacation together. Each summer, they would visit Lincoln, NH, and enjoy the festivities and tourist attractions with their children and grandchildren.
Marilyn was not one to sit idle. During her retirement years, she loved to help babysit her grandchildren. She volunteered for the Town of Burlington for flu clinics. Michael and Marilyn also enjoyed traveling with their close friends. They visited many destinations such as Germany, the Kremlin in Moscow, and Alaska. They relished their Caribbean and Mediterranean cruises.
Marilyn will be remembered for her loving nature, her kindness, spirit and humor. She was an inspiration to her family and will be missed, but never forgotten.
Marilyn was the beloved wife of the late Michael J. McNeil. Loving mother of Michael J. McNeil, Jr. & his partner Anne Brenton of Atkinson, NH, Maureen Kozachuk & her husband Kevin of Woburn, David McNeil & his wife Jessy of Burlington, Lori Brazee of Burlington and Paul McNeil & his wife Mary of Oakham. Proud grandmother of Robert & Thomas Brazee, Kelsey, Derek, Cameron & Jake Kozachuk and Samuel & Rachel McNeil. Sister of the late Janice Picardi & William Vaughn. Special Aunt to Donna Kelley of Haverhill and Richard Picardi of Revere.
Funeral from the Edward V Sullivan Funeral Home, 43 Winn St., BURLINGTON (Exit 34 off Rt. 128/95 side Woburn) on Tuesday, Aug. 7 at 9 a.m. Followed by a Mass of Christian Burial in St. Malachy Church, 99 Bedford St., Burlington at 10 a.m. Visiting hours Monday 4-8 p.m. Interment in Chestnut Hill Cemetery, Burlington. Memorials in Marilyn’s name may be made to Minuteman Senior Services, c/o Meals on Wheels Program, 26 Crosby Drive, Bedford, MA 01703
Family Remembrance by Paul
My name is Paul Francis Christopher McNeil, the youngest son of Mike and Marilyn McNeil or as my Dad often put it, the Last of the Mohicans, or as Marilyn put it on my Birthday, Charlie Brown. The December night when I was born, my older brothers and sisters were at home, watching “Charlie Brown’s Christmas” on the TV, and for years, and years, I’d get a loving call from my mother saying “Happy Birthday Charlie Brown!”. To this day hearing that still makes me feel like a child.
We will all have our time to mourn the passing of Marilyn in the days, weeks and months ahead. Today, I would like us to celebrate the life of my mother Marilyn, a deeply compassionate and loving woman. I was 3 years old when we got our dog Pebbles. This day is literally one of my earliest memories. A boy and his dog, Pebbles and I had a very strong bond. Now fast forward 17 years, to when I was in college. I had just finished up finals. When I returned home, I learned that my childhood pet had died. It was my mother who shielded me from that knowledge until I was done with my classes. A small thing, but done with great compassion. It is the sum of the small and thoughtful decisions like this, throughout my lifetime, that makes me proud to be Marilyn’s son.
My parents were both committed to taking care of our family. I remember being in my pajamas, in the car with my dad driving. We were going to drop my mom off at Choate Hospital to work the emergency room overnight shift. The two of them, working hard together to take care of their family. One had a job during the day, the other at night. Don’t be fooled my mom worked during the day too! As an adult now, looking back at the sacrifices my parents underwent to house, clothe and feed our family, I am in awe of all that they accomplished. Speaking of feeding our family, I could never say that I went hungry as a child. I know that putting food on the table for 7, 9 or even 12 hungry mouths, on a daily basis, is a daunting task. Whether it was our cousins or other neighborhood friends, there were always extra mouths to feed in our household, and my mother got the job done! She excelled at certain dishes, her meatballs and meatloaf are still some of my favorites, but I often joke that I never knew what REAL clam chowder tasted like until I was in college. As the youngest, when it was only her, dad and myself at home, I was privileged to see my mother grow to be a more creative and adventurous cook. In my early years I watched my mother take care of so many people, including family, friends and neighbors. I spent many days with my mom at Aunt Barbara’s house on Francis Wyman Road. While mom ran the dialysis machine for her, Aunt Kay would often have a sweet treat for me. I remember asking one time how these women were related to us, and my mother explained to me that you just need to love someone for them to be family. This was another of those small lessons my mother showed us as to what love means.
Throughout the years Marilyn never hesitated to help people in need. She took in many people when they needed a loving and caring place to stay. Our cousins Ricky and Donna, when they lost their mother, and my grandmothers in their elder days. In recent years, even friends of my nephews and their children were welcomed. My mom was a generous woman. We are fortunate to have had time with both our grandmothers. They lived with us, in their later years, my mother taking them into our house to care from them. While living with us, my Grandma Vaugh, once a month, would buy Chinese food for the family. We loved this treat! Sadly, my Grandma Vaughn passed away on an Easter Sunday. Marilyn, from then on, made a tradition of having Chinese food as part of our Easter dinner. To this day, Easter dinner still consists of Chinese food for our family. It is a tradition that memorializes the love of those that have passed before us. A small lesson of love that mom again taught us all. Mike and Marilyn both truly loved the neighborhood on Morrison Road and the friends they made there. As Marilyn said, you just need to love someone for them to be family. I have such fond memories of the lobster boils and other parties we had in our neighborhood. All you neighbors and friends here today know that you are part of the McNeil family. That’s how mom raised us. Being the last of the Mohicans for Mike and Marilyn, I probably got a little more leeway from my parents than my siblings did. I got to be a bit wilder, I think, than my brothers and sisters did without the same consequences. That being said, it’s no secret that Marilyn was the disciplinarian in the family, and hearing “Paul Francis McNeil!” shouted by my mother would send a shiver down my back. Just the threat of her getting the belt out usually kept me in line. I have to tell you that karma can come around when you least expect it! In the end, my parents got to serve me a little payback for all those nights of waiting up when I was out too late. My wife and I had a trailer up in York Beach Maine for a few years. My parents let me know that they wanted to visit, so I arranged for them to go up to our trailer for a weekend with some of their friends. As I arrived to our site, the following weekend, I was assaulted by the park management for the behavior of my guests the week before. Yup! My parents were loud and boisterous past quite hours. No, I’m not kidding, my parents got me in trouble. Then again, the day after my wedding, I was advised by our wedding site coordinator as to who the loud party in the hotel was after hours; No, it wasn’t my teenage nephews… It was again Mom, Dad and their friends. They got me in trouble again. I probably deserved worse for what I put them through growing up though. As mom aged, her hearing went. When I recently brought her to a doctor’s appointment, I told the nurse she had to yell for mom to hear her. She got a little louder, but I had to tell the nurse louder. Finally, mom would look at me to find out what the nurse was asking, and I had to repeat all her questions REAL LOUD. It was a bit humorous.
Near her end, Mom also started to drift a bit into her own world. I find it a small blessing, because she seemed happy in that place. I think she could be happy because she knew that she did her job in life, that she was a loving and compassionate wife, mother and friend and that she raised a loving and compassionate family. After all the chaos and all she did for us, Marilyn finally got a bit of peace and quiet, and I think she deserved that. I have numerous other stories of my mother and how she helped raise our family, one small lesson at a time. My siblings, cousins, nephews and nieces will certainly have even more stories. Everyone here that knows Marilyn has some story they remember of her and as we continue to celebrate her life today, please remember to share them. On Marilyn’s last day, after she laughed and joked at how old I was looking with my grey hair, I was able to kiss her and tell her I love her, I said it loud so she heard me, and she said she loved me too. That is another blessing I will always hold dear. So, on this day I would like everyone to celebrate Marilyn’s life. It was a life lived for family and friends, with love and compassion… Please carry her love and compassion forward to others in your own lives. Carry it and pay it forward. My Mom was selfless in how she helped her family, friends and neighbors, I think that if we can all do that, the world will be a better place. We all have one life to live, live it fully and live it with compassion and love.
God Bless You All.
Edward V. Sullivan
43 Winn Street
Burlington, MA 01803
Ph: (781) 272-0050