MELROSE — Marie L. (Lynch) O’Connell, 87, passed away peacefully on April 17 after a brief illness.
Marie raised 10 children in Melrose with her husband, Thomas F. O’Connell, who passed away in 1995. Since 2011, she had lived in Reading and Peabody.
Marie was the loving mother of Daniel O’Connell and wife Donna of Reading, Susan Chandler and husband Rod of Reading, William O’Connell and wife Robin Marion of Amherst, Mary Homan and husband John of Marblehead, Thomas O’Connell and wife Laura Runkel of Cambridge and Wellfleet, Kathleen O’Connell and husband David Biggers of Canton, John O’Connell and wife Mary Rita Kropp of Wilmette, Ill., Paul O’Connell and partner Suzanne Mermelstein of Somerville, Eileen O’Connell and partner Mike Grinnell of Melrose and Robert O’Connell and wife Jennifer of Ipswich.
She was the devoted grandmother of 22 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren: Danielle Gillis and her children, Sydney, Isabelle and David of Tewksbury and Amy O’Connell of Reading; Laura Rodgers of Burlington, Michael Chandler of Chicago and Carolyn Chandler of Somerville; Ben O’Connell-Marion of Brighton and Rose O’Connell-Marion of Somerville; Sarah Moran of Boston, John Homan of Boston and Kathryn Homan of Marblehead; Mackenzie O’Connell of Amesbury; Samuel, William and Daniel Biggers of Canton; Eamon, Lydia and Martin O’Connell, of Wilmette, Ill.; Henry O’Connell of Berkeley, Calif. and Giuliana O’Connell of Somerville; and Sadie, Thomas and Jane O’Connell of Ipswich. She is also survived by many nieces and nephews.
A bright woman with a big smile, wry wit and deep Roman Catholic faith, Marie was born in Milford on Feb. 15, 1928, the daughter of Henry and Lucy (Mee) Lynch. She graduated from St. Mary High School in Milford and went on to Emmanuel College in Boston, where she earned a bachelor of arts in Mathematics in 1949.
In addition to her husband, she is predeceased by her brothers Ray, Robert and Donald Lynch, and close cousin and friend Avis Power.
After college, Marie lived in an apartment on Beacon Hill and worked as an insurance auditor for the state of Massachusetts. She met Tom O’Connell on a date arranged by her friends and she and Tom loved to visit Hampton Beach, N.H., with groups of friends when they were dating.
Married in 1951, Marie and Tom O’Connell lived in his hometown of Medford and then Malden before moving to Melrose in 1960. Their house on First Street near Winthrop School was the social center of a neighborhood full of large families. Marie was the good-natured hostess of giant Fourth of July cookouts and Christmas parties from the 1960s into the 1990s, in addition to countless birthday parties, graduations, anniversaries and other family celebrations. She was an excellent cook and brought wisdom, humor and a rational perspective to conversations and debates at the dinner table or neighborhood gatherings.
When her children were grown, Marie put her financial and math talents to work at the Malden Teachers Federal Credit Union. She and Tom were regulars at the North Shore Irish Association and active members of Church of the Incarnation in Melrose. Marie was especially devoted to her “Club” of fellow Emmanuel graduates, who gathered regularly to keep up on each other’s lives and she remained closest to her fellow Emmanuel alumnae.
Visitation was held on Tuesday, April 21, from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Gately Funeral Home, 79 West Foster St., Melrose. The funeral was from the Gately Funeral Home on Wednesday, April 22, at 10 a.m. followed by a funeral Mass at the Incarnation Church, 425 Upham St., Melrose at 11 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to My Brother’s Table in Lynn and the Kaplan Family Hospice House in Danvers. To leave an online condolence and for additional information please visit gatelyfh.com.