Had a passion for learning, philanthropy

Published January 10, 2019

NORTH READING — Sheila Marie Mahoney, 49, of North Reading, died on December 12, 2018 on the Lady of Guadalupe Day. When she passed, Sheila was surrounded by those who love her.

Born on June 5, 1969, Sheila was the beloved daughter of Joseph and Joanne Mahoney of North Reading and the loving sister of Michele Mahoney of Medford and Joseph K. Mahoney of Malden. She is also survived by an extended family of cousins, aunts, uncles and family friends.

Sheila graduated with a bachelor’s degree from UMass-Amherst in business and accounting, and earned an Executive Master of Business Administration in marketing from Boston University and a graduate certificate in non-profit management from the Fletcher School of Diplomacy at Tufts University.

Sheila enjoyed an extensive career in a wide range of industries. She was a Budget Officer at Tufts University and served in financial, budgeting and marketing leadership roles at Gillette, Procter & Gamble, and the Bose Corporation. Sheila also taught computer skills at the Reading Public Schools as part of their Adult and Community Education program.

Sheila loved and served multiple communities. As a board member of the Medford Arts Collaborative she excelled at event planning and served as treasurer. Sheila was especially proud that she co-chaired the annual Toys for Boston charity drive operated in cooperation with the U.S. Marine Corps, and for many years she served as a volunteer at St. Theresa’s Catholic Church in North Reading.

Sheila had an artistic calling as she enjoyed playing the flute, loved dance and was a student of tap, jazz, and ballet at Bill Fowler School of Dance in Medford. Sheila was athletically inclined and enjoyed a wide variety of sports. Throughout her life, Sheila pursued her passion for learning by reading, attending workshops, classes and lectures on a weekly basis. She took classes at Harvard Extension School, Salem State University, and throughout her life was engaged in a wide range of community, academic, philanthropic and social endeavors.

Ultimately, Sheila’s life focus was spending time with family and friends, as well as a passion for continual learning, and in these she never wavered. She showered her family and friends with unconditional love and kindness. She lived simply. It was as if Sheila was born with a blueprint informing her of what was important in life and she followed that blueprint from childhood until her passing. 

Sheila was perpetually curious which earned her recognition as “most eccentric” at North Reading High School. Incidentally, Sheila was also recognized as “best looking” in high school, and anyone who recalls the joy of seeing Sheila smile and the light that she exuded could understand why.

Being around Sheila was a breath of fresh air. Because she was so open-minded and curious about others, she crossed paths with many people, from local to international. This wide cross-connection of friends kept her life interesting and enjoyable, and it also enriched all of us who spent time with her. Sheila’s guiding ethos that “there was always more to learn” kept her humble, vulnerable, and able to enjoy simple pleasures. These attributes disarmed everyone she met; you couldn’t help but love her, no one could. Spending time with others was the only thing she needed, and the location or surroundings were not important. 

Sheila was and continues to be the light of her family and friends and will remain forever innocent. She was a blessing to every life she touched through her kind and attentive ways. Sheila was very good for this world which would be a better place if more people followed her examples. 

Sheila, thank you for showering this dense place with your light, love, eternal fascination, and innocent heart. We have never met a spirit as pure as yours, a non-existent ego, selfless, and completely unaware of your beauty.  Your state of being captivated so many of us and losing you is simply unbearable, but we know that you watch over us and inspire us.

Her funeral Mass was held at St. Theresa’s Church in North Reading on December 19. Interment was private. Arrangements were in the care of the Cota Funeral Home, 335 Park St., North Reading. For online condolences, please visit www.cotafuneralhomes.com.

Donations in Sheila’s name may be made to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, P.O. Box 849168, Boston, MA 02284.