Obituary of Marjorie A Canniff
Marjorie A. (Leary) Canniff, passed away at the Lahey Hospital & Medical Center in Burlington on Sunday morning, March 6, 2022. The beloved wife of the late Paul C. Canniff, she was 88 years old.
Marge was born and raised in Auburn, New York. She was one of three children born to the late Perry and Mary Leary. As a young woman, Marge was independent and strong. We used to say that the Mary Tyler Moore show was modeled after Marge’s life – the early years. At the tender young age of eighteen, Marge packed up her belongings in a big old trunk, boarded a train from upstate New York and headed to Boston (Weston, actually) to start on her next big adventure, college. Marge graduated from Regis College in 1955. She remained actively involved in the college and its future growth for the remainder of her life.
After graduation, and prior to her role as a domestic engineer, Marge set off on another big adventure. She, along with a couple of her Regis classmates, moved to New York City, rented an apartment and became a career woman – nearly unheard of in the mid 1950’s. It was through one of her roommates that she met Paul. Often asked if she thought Paul was handsome when they met him, she replied “I thought he was fun”. Paul and Marge continued their fun when they married in 1962 and moved to Ganley Drive in Burlington.
Marge devoted the next chapter of her life to raising her four children and keeping a home. If cooking was not her favorite, ironing was. Marge was the President of the Ironing Club and was never without the board and iron at the ready. Again, ahead of her time, Marge provided UBER service to her children’s activities and sporting events. To this day, she knew every street in Burlington and where every family lived. She continued her support and services when her grandchildren came along. The Canniff family “summered” at the Burlington Country Club. It was a great place for families in the 1970’s, and the best part for Marge was that the kids could walk to the Club.
Marge was a piano player, a newspaper reader (especially the obituaries), and a longtime member of a bowling team. Marge worked for over 20 years at the Northeastern bookstore in Burlington. Marge had a large circle of friends from her home in New York, her college years and from her many years in Burlington. She enjoyed her time with these friends through daily coffee, Tuesdays at TOPS, exercise classes and an occasional trip abroad. Fourth of July cookouts at the Laghetto’s were among her favorite annual events.
Marge was well traveled. She and Paul traveled all over the world visiting Russia, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Sweden, Norway, the Caribbean, Alaska, and Hawaii. They especially enjoyed seeing these destinations via cruise ships. Marge also took a special trip to Ireland with her girlfriends. Marge and her husband Paul were longtime parishioners at St. Margaret’s and regularly attended the 4:30 Mass on Saturdays where Paul was an Usher.
In recent years Marge lived at Stonebridge Assisted Living where she enjoyed playing cards and attending the many activities with her friends. She was known for her intelligence and her dry sense of humor. Marge will be remembered as a kind and loving wife, mother, grandmother, and friend. Raise a glass to a life well lived.
Marge was the beloved wife of the late Paul C. Loving mother of Patricia Forte of Avon Lake, OH, Carol Doherty of Woburn, Thomas Canniff of N. Billerica, and Joan Kelly & her husband Aaron Kelly of Bedford. Proud grandmother of Patrick & Matthew Forte, Kevin & Kelly Doherty, Brian & Peter Canniff, and Aidan & Aislyn Kelly. Mother-in-law of Patrick Doherty. Sister of the late Perry and Frank Leary and sister-in-law of Marie Canniff. Visiting hours will be held at the Edward V Sullivan Funeral Home, 43 Winn St., Burlington on Friday, March 11 from 4-7 p.m. Funeral from the Funeral Home on Saturday, March 12 at 9 a.m. Followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at St. Margaret’s Church, in St. Veronica Parish, 111 Winn St., Burlington at 10 a.m. Burial to follow in Oak Grove Cemetery, Medford. In lieu of flowers memorials in Marge’s name may be made to People Helping People, PO Box 343, Burlington, MA 01803.
Family Remembrance Joan
Thank you all for being here this morning. Thank you to St. Margaret’s. Sullivan’s and Fr. Shen for helping us to honor our mom.
For those of us lucky to have watched our parents live a long life, it seems as if they will live forever and always be here. We take great comfort in knowing that Mom is at peace, reunited with our dad, family and the many friends who have already left us.
Mom was a strong, intelligent, independent and kind woman who loved and was loved by many. She rarely encountered a situation she could not conquer, Whether that was taking herself to college as a young 18 year old alone on the train- these days many of us need a Uhaul and a team of movers to get our kids settled into school, establishing a career in the mid 50’s, as one of the grandkids remarked “Gramma was in “Mad Men”, after binging the show….Taking on NYC with her girlfriends, becoming a wife and mother of 4 in rapid succession ( a good Irish Catholic) and overcoming some serious health issues, she had an inner strength that gave her the courage and ability to face life’s challenges. Mom had a strong faith to guide her through difficulty times. She often said that was the only thing that got her through at times. She had a great sense of humor and positive attitude. I remember when at 43 she needed to use a cane, she decorated it as a candy cane for the holidays. Even this challenge didn’t slow her down as she worked hard to get back on her feet and back to her life.
Mom loved and embraced the simple things that gave her pleasure. I can’t tell you how many pigs she had in that collection, but for years many people searched for “ a pig for Marge”. She loved bowling, working at the bookstores, going to daily Mass, her breakfast and coffee dates, the parties, cookouts and celebrations that came as a result of have dear friends. She was so smart. We knew not to call her during Jeopardy, and when you watched it with her, she knew almost all the answers! She was well-read and loved her newspapers. For those of you who know that story of my dad, the newspaper and the snowbank, let’s face it, Mom wanted that paper just as much as he did.
I have a theory we always see our parents as middle aged. We forget they too were once babies, children, newlyweds, young parents- you get the picture. We see them strong and wise, helping us through our trials and we can’t believe they every “knew what we were talking about”. Mom was always there to listen, support and offer advice but she let us live our own lives. About 7 years ago I was getting ready to drive Patrick’s car from Cleveland to Oklahoma City and help him get settled. Mom called me one day to tell me she was flying to Cleveland to drive with me because she didn’t like the idea of me going alone. I called Patrick to let him know she was coming because even at 81 moms don’t go away.
While we are all saddened by her leaving us, I know she is not alone. She is busy catching up with Phyllis, Martha, Dottie and so many others it would take me hours to list. I am certain there are many joyful reunions taking place in heaven. I can see her in the warm and loving arms of both our Dad, and her beloved father Perry, whom she hasn’t seen in 52 years, surrounded by many others in a circle of love. I hope in time, this image will help us to smile through our tears. Rest in peace Mom, we loved you and will miss you terribly but are so glad you are in the arms of God.
Edward V. Sullivan
43 Winn Street
Burlington, MA 01803
Ph: (781) 272-0050