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MORRISSEY, Donna M. Beloved daughter, sister, aunt, godmother, friend and humanitarian Age 51, of Newton and Brewster, MA, beloved daughter, sister, aunt, godmother, friend and humanitarian passed away on May 22, 2020. A graduate of Newton North High School and Boston College, Ms. Morrissey was a well-respected and loved public figure throughout Boston and the nation. Her introduction to media relations and civic engagement began while attending Boston College, where she played flute for four years with the Boston College Band. In her junior year, she traveled with the band when the BC football team played in Dublin, Ireland in 1988. It was there where she made her first appearance on national Irish television and met then-Ambassador, and Morrissey family friend, Margaret Heckler. Most recently, she championed for the American Red Cross for the past 17 years, as Director of National Partnerships. During her tenure there she deployed to over 10 disasters and led efforts to bring relief, aid and comfort amid profound suffering. She began her Red Cross career in New England, but her work crossed all borders. Known as a passionate, kind, and talented humanitarian who worked daily to encourage the need for lifesaving blood donations while also deploying to numerous large-scale disasters and mass casualty events. Some of those responses included the Boston Marathon bombing, the Sandy Hook tragedy, Superstorm Sandy, Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, and the Pulse Nightclub shooting. Ms. Morrissey never hesitated to do whatever she could to help those in need during their most devastating moments, whether that was a hand to hold or rolling up her sleeves and helping volunteers with tasks at the site. There was no job too big, nor too small, and she could seamlessly move from digging dirt to addressing the media behind a podium with a moment's notice. Prior to the American Red Cross, Ms. Morrissey held the position of spokeswoman for the Boston Archdiocese during the clergy sex abuse scandal that swiftly dominated the news after her arrival in 2002. A harrowing experience, it was this time, while also caring for an ailing beloved aunt, that truly shone a light on the tenacity and professionalism of her spirit. She endured the utmost of pressure and remained empathetic to the community, victims and their families, sustained by her abiding faith and loving family. Beginning her career in television as an assignment editor at both WCVB Channel 5 and WBZ Channel 4, Ms. Morrissey learned the intricacies of the news world 24/7 and the networks within the city of Boston in which to get things done. This served her well as she moved on to Regan Communications to take on large accounts, working her way up to the senior vice president position with such accounts as Biogen and State Street. In addition to an accomplished professional life, Ms. Morrissey, the 2017 recipient of the Laboure Caregivers Award, was also active with the Boston College Women's Network as a speaker and mentor; the Boston Public Relations Society; and as a board member of the Central Cooperative Bank. She often was a guest speaker at numerous colleges throughout Boston communications classes, and taught at Suffolk University and Boston University for a semester. While expressing her faith, humor, and love of storytelling with loved ones, in her down time she enjoyed fine wine, delicacies, and spending time with her beloved dog Sebastian on Cape Cod. Family was always a priority – especially her beloved twin sisters, Caitlin and Johanna, in whom she took special pride. Her dad, William P. Morrissey, who passed away just six months ago, was her biggest cheerleader and support system. Ms. Morrisey was predeceased by her father, the late William P. Morrissey and leaves behind her mother Donna (Cosgrove) Morrissey, and three sisters, Caitlin and Johanna of Brookline; Meghan of Brighton; three brothers, William, Jr. of La Jolla, CA, Francis of Milton, and John of Hingham; two nephews; and four nieces. Donna also leaves several close cousins, many friends, a network of connections, colleagues and communities that will forever remember her kindness and empathy when they needed it most. She had the unique ability to make instant deep connections with people – she came in as a stranger and remained their cherished friend. Due to the current pandemic protocols for large gatherings, the Funeral Mass will be private. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked for donations in Donna's memory to the American Red Cross Coronavirus Fund, or mail to: American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37839, Boone, IA 50037-0839, by phone: 1-800-435-7669. For guestbook, please visit www.lehmanreen.com Lehman Reen McNamara 617 782 1000 Brighton
Published in The Boston Globe on May 27, 2020
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