Mary Jane Flaherty
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of Pepperell; 63
PEPPERELL -- Mary Jane Flaherty, age 63, of Pepperell, passed away on June 11, 2014, at St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Boston. The cause was pneumonia.
Mary Jane was a librarian, a teacher, a lover of the arts, a reader and a lifelong learner. She loved cats and crocheting, the Boston Red Sox, the Boston Celtics and the New England Patriots. For Mary Jane, a great day involved a museum, a sporting event, or a conversation with a friend or former student. She delighted in learning of her students' achievements and dreams.
Mary Jane was born in Clinton, Massachusetts on January 24, 1951, the younger daughter of Peter M. and Mary (O'Toole) Flaherty. Mary Jane's beloved sister Catherine (Caddy), with whom she shared her home and her cats, passed away in 2010. Mary Jane and Caddy shared a love of history and of New England. They saw many of the national parks of the northeast, and loved trips to historic sites like presidential birthplaces. They loved the ocean.
For 33 years, Mary Jane's second home was the North Middlesex Regional High School. Mary Jane arrived at North Middlesex in 1977, as part of a needs assessment survey team funded by a federal grant. That same year, she also served as the "school register and recorder", for which she received 50 cents per pupil. Mary Jane, who held a degree in library science, moved on to spend many years in the school library before becoming a teacher of her favorite subject: U.S. history. Mary Jane was particularly proud of the role she played in helping to establish the Academic Support Center at North Middlesex.
Mary Jane's greatest joy in teaching was working closely with students, particularly helping them to design and carry out a research project. Long after a student had graduated, Mary Jane could recall the topic she or he had worked on and how the student had grown from the assignment.
Mary Jane leaves her uncle, George M. O'Toole, Jr., and his wife Jenny of Springfield Virginia, and a crew of close and caring first cousins: Carrie O'Connell of San Francisco, Bill O'Connell and his wife, Marlene of Northampton, Massachusetts, Mary O'Connell and her husband Terry Troyer of Hingham, Massachusetts, John O'Connell of Napa, California, Jim Mitchell of Fitchburg, Massachusetts, Mike O'Toole of Washington, D.C., Steve O'Toole of Virginia, and Tony O'Toole and his wife, Darlene of North Carolina. Mary Jane's cousin George Mitchell passed away in 2013.
Mary Jane was greatly loved by her cousins' children: Chris and Russell O'Connell, and Margaret Troyer.
FLAHERTY -- Services will be Private. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the North Middlesex Regional High School Scholarship Foundation in memory of M.J. Flaherty. North Middlesex Regional High School, 19 Main St., Townsend, MA 01469. Arrangements by Hamilton-McGAFFIGAN Funeral Home Pepperell, MA. Please see www.mcgaffiganfuneral.com
Hamilton-McGaffigan Funeral Home
37 Main St
Pepperell, MA 01463
Published in Lowell Sun on June 18, 2014