Mary O'Connor

Obituary of Mary O'Connor

Mary T. O’Connor, a resident of Woburn for 48 years passed away unexpectedly at the Winchester Hospital on Wednesday morning, September 3, 2008. She was 77 years old. Mary was born and raised in Cambridge, the daughter of the late Fred and Catherine McGrath. She was a graduate of St. Mary’s High School in Cambridge. She married Henry “Leo” O’Connor and they eventually settled in Woburn to raise their 3 children. Mary’s warm and outgoing persona made it easy for her meet new friends and neighbors. As her children were growing up, it was a common event for the mothers to get together during the day to share a cup of coffee or tea, as their children played. She enjoyed ceramics and even had a ceramics kiln in her basement. She happily shared her talents with those interested in learning the craft. She also enjoyed baking. She was a devoted and loving wife and a caring and nurturing mother. She was a proud grandmother, who was blessed to see her grandchildren grow up. Mary was the beloved wife of the late Henry “Leo” O’Connor. Loving mother of Deborah A. Johnson & her husband Thomas of Westford, Brian L. O’Connor of Allen, TX & his fiancée Kate Koestner, and Brenda J. Simblaris & her husband Peter of North Reading. Sister of Rita Emello of Belmont. Also survived by 6 grandchildren. Funeral from the Edward V. Sullivan Funeral Home, 43 Winn St., BURLINGTON (Exit 34 off Rt. 128, Woburn side) on Friday, Sept. 5 at 10 a.m. Followed by a Mass of Christian Burial in St. Barbara’s Church, 138 Cambridge Rd., Woburn at 11 a.m. Visiting hours Thursday from 4-8 p.m. Interment in Mt. Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge. Eulogy for Mary O’Connor By Meredith Johnson September 5, 2008 For 26 years, I had the privilege of having Mary O’Connor as my grandmother. Those who know me know that my Grammy, as I’ve always called her, was one of the most influential people in my life. It was also known that we shared a uniquely close and special bond. Perhaps it was my persistence that made us so close. I wouldn’t let her get away from me even if she tried. Ever since I was a little kid, I was like her shadow. And while I wouldn’t go so far as to follow her into the bathroom when she came to visit, I would wait outside, get down on the floor and keep talking to her through the crack in the door. As I said, there was no escaping me. While many people would find this behavior annoying, my Grammy never discouraged me. I’ve come to believe that she was flattered that I wanted to be with her 24 hours a day 7 days a week. As I stand here today, I find it difficult to put down in words what made my grandmother so special, so unique, so wonderful. How can you do justice to the memory of someone who means so much to you in just a few minutes? It’s true that Mary O’Connor was a caring daughter, a devoted wife, a loving mother, a proud grandmother and a generous friend. She took these roles seriously and performed them with grace. However, she had an essence that drew you in and made you want to spend time with her. I knew this about her since I was 3 years old (maybe I knew earlier, but I don’t remember any earlier). And after seeing the number of people who came to pay their respects to her yesterday and today, I now know that I was right. I wasn’t just a granddaughter who claimed to have a special grandmother, my grandmother was special and those who met her could see it too. My family and I have lots of great memories of my grandmother. We remember her smile, her laugh, her wit and, in particular, her patience, which served her well during her 50 year marriage to my grandfather. He was a wonderful man but, like all of us, he had his quirks. We all know the saying, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”, but for my grandfather, everything was a “treasure”. And while the family questioned why any one person would need so many “treasures” stowed in their basement, my grandmother knew it made him happy and would come to his defense if anyone brought up the subject of the treacherous basement. Several years ago, I found a short essay written by a 9 year old boy who answered the question “What is a Grandmother?”. I shared this with my Grammy and she laughed for nearly 15 minutes over it. I’d like to share it with you now. &quote;A grandmother is a lady who has no children of her own, so she likes other people's little boys and girls. A grandfather is a man grandmother. Grandmas don't have to do anything except be there. They're old, so they shouldn't play hard or run. It is enough if they drive us to the market where the pretend horse is and have lots of dimes ready. Usually grandmas are fat, but not too fat to tie kids' shoes. They wear glasses and they can take their teeth out and gums off! They don't have to be smart ... only answer questions like why dogs chase cats and how come God isn't married? They don't talk Baby Talk like visitors do because it is hard to understand and when they read to us they don't skip words or mind if it is the same story over and over again. Everyone should try to have a Grandma especially if they don't have a television, because grandmothers are the only grownups who really ever seem to have any time for children!&quote; I was lucky to have a grandmother who always had time for her grandchildren. However, she appreciated it if you would visit her after her Bingo game at New Horizons. Even still, nothing made her happier than knowing that her friends and family were doing well. If you were happy, she was happy. As I mentioned earlier, when I was a little kid, my Grammy couldn’t leave me even if she tried. I just wouldn’t let her. Unfortunately, throwing a temper tantrum or pleading with her to stay couldn’t keep her here on Earth with us any longer. While I take comfort in knowing that she is with God and has reunited with Leo, the love of her life, I selfishly want her here with me. Although we know that she’s in a better place, this world seems a little less bright now without her in it. I only hope to that we can all take some of the qualities we admired in Mary O’Connor whether it was her patience, humor, generosity or unparalleled apple pie baking skills and apply them to our own lives. Grammy, I love you. I will miss you always.
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