Essex, MA — Mary Ahern Mears of Brighton, Winchester, and Essex, passed away peacefully in her home, after 91 extraordinary years, surrounded by her family, Friday morning, April 19, 2013.
She was born on Thanksgiving Day, November 24, 1921, at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Brighton. She was the daughter of Irish immigrants, B. Theresa Buckley and John J. Ahern. Even though she was an only child, her life was full of excitement and opportunity. Her parents were servants and they lived in homes of wealth. She described her childhood as loving and magical, a place where she was treated as family by her parents’ employers. She attributes her outlook on life to her parents, who gave her the gifts of a love of people, the importance of education and an openness to experience new opportunities. Her parting message to us, “Aren’t we lucky to have known each other and to have had this opportunity to have shared life together?”
She attended Fisk School, Boston, Alexander Hamilton School, Brighton, Thomas E. Edison Junior High School, Brighton (the first Junior High School in the Boston Public School system), Mount Saint Joseph Academy, Brighton, graduating Class of 1939, salutatorian and president of the class, Katherine Gibbs, Boston 1939-1941, dean’s list. She also attended Salem State and North Shore Community College.
Mary was an avid volunteer and public servant including, Mass Women’s Defense Corps 1941-1943, Captain Brighton-Allston Motor Corps Division under Col. Natalie Hays Hammond.
While living in Winchester from 1958 to 1974, she was very busy raising her children and volunteering for many groups and clubs, including Cub Scouts and Brownies, Friends of Winchester Hospital, Winton Club (Winchester Hospital Support Group),Coach, St. Mary’s CYO Theater Group and CCD instructor, Parish Players 1st Congregational Church Winchester. She was a Town Meeting member and was elected to the Winchester School Committee 1968-1974, holding the position of chairman for part of her term. During her term, the committee deliberated issues including METCO.
She was the first female elected to Essex Board of Selectman 1978-1986, holding the position of chairman for part of her term. She served on Essex Board of Health and Sewer Study Committee and was secretary, president and area representative (Essex, Rockport, and Manchester) of Essex County Selectmen’s Association. Her volunteer activities included, Friends of Cable Memorial Hospital, Charter Member Essex Citizen’s Study Group. She was a charter and founding member of the Friends of the Essex Council on Aging Inc. 1987, Conomo Point Association past president Ladies Association, Life Member 6th Marine Division Ladies Auxiliary, Volunteer and Board Member United Way of Central North Shore and American Red Cross Gloucester Chapter.
She was employed as a secretary at Chain Belt Co., Cambridge Office, income tax preparer in North Carolina and was administrative assistant to the Dean of Faculty at Simmons College 1968-1972.
She married the absolute love of her life, born and raised in Essex, David A. Mears (“Mears”) on November 27, 1943, and spent the next 69 years creating a family who love her so much. Her children, Walter G. Mears, Eleanor Mears Vyn, Daniel D. Mears (deceased), Louise Mears Lutts, wife of Richard W. Lutts Jr., and Barry M. Mears, husband of Susan Landry Mears, will try to see life through her ‘rose colored glasses’. She leaves her grandchildren, Laura Mears Hart, married to Jason Hart, of Ipswich, Cynthia Mears Cutter, married to Brian Cutter, of Hamilton, Walter David Mears, married to Heidi Jernegan Mears, of Essex, children of Walter Mears and Evelyn Galvin Mears; Michael F. Vyn, Katherine E. Vyn, Mary E. Vyn, children of Eleanor Mears Vyn and Frederick Vyn; Kathryn L. Lutts, Emily A. Lutts, children of Louise Mears Lutts and Richard W. Lutts, Jr.; Kara E. Mears, Lauren A. Mears, children of Barry Mears and Susan Landry Mears. She leaves great grandchildren, Maia Aisha Vyn-McFarlane, daughter of Katherine E. Vyn; Olivia M. Hart and William D. Hart, children of Laura and Jason Hart; Andrew R. Cutter and Irene M. Cutter, children of Cynthia and Brian Cutter; Laila J. Mears and Cody G. Mears, children of Walter D. Mears and Heidi Mears. She also leaves nieces and nephews and many grand and great grand nieces and nephews.
We may say, live on the way she would want us to, with generosity and kindness, the strong will of a bull and the dignity of an eagle. And so we shall, because that sounds like a wonderful way to live.
ARRANGEMENTS: Private funeral services are under the direction of the Whittier-Porter Funeral Home of Ipswich. In her memory, she would love you to make a contribution to any of the following: Mount Saint Joseph Academy Scholarship Fund, 617 Cambridge St., Boston, MA, 02134; Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph, 617 Cambridge St., Brighton, MA, 02135; Sarah Lufkin Scholarship Fund, Bank North, 15 Martin St., Essex, MA, 01929; Mr. and Mrs. L. Dexter Woodman Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 81, 127 Main St., Essex, MA, 01929; Pingree School Scholarship Fund, 537 Highland St., S. Hamilton, MA, 01982; or the Hospice of the North Shore and Greater Boston, 75 Sylvan St., Suite B-102, Danvers, MA, 01923. To leave a condolence for her family, please visit www.whittier-porter.com.