McGUIRK, Mary Margaret March 17, 1929-June 20, 2011 Mary Margaret (Berg) McGuirk passed away peacefully in her home at the age of 82 with family by her side. Mary was born to Leo J. and Matilda M. (Tilly) Berg in New Ulm, Minnesota. Mary attended Holy Trinity School for 12 years. Upon graduation she went on to obtain her registered nurse diploma from St. Mary's School of Nursing in Rochester, Minnesota. After graduating she moved to Chicago until her sister, Corinne, convinced her to come to Santa Monica, CA where she knew of a position opening up. When Mary saw the ocean for the first time she knew she would never live anywhere else. Mary immediately jumped, both literally and figuratively, into the beach life. She met Richard McGuirk at a dance at Saint Monica's Church in 1952. She liked the sound of Mary Margaret McGuirk. So, six months later they married. By 1959 they had settled, permanently as it turned out, at their home in Venice, California where they raised three children and a granddaughter. Mary was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, sister, aunt and just plain good friend to all she met.
She worked as a nurse for 50 years, 31 of which were happily spent at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica. She enjoyed her career there due mostly to the people she had the pleasure of working with. Although she enjoyed her work her real passion was the Venice Breakwater beach. She would ride her bike there, go for a run, (later on a power walk,) and then swim in the ocean. She did this almost every day of her life. This devotion led her to the Venice Beach Penguins swim club. She organized their "New Year's Day" swim until 2009. In addition to the Penguin's, Mary volunteered for many organizations throughout her life; Ocean Park Community Center (OPCC) and the Catalina Island Conservancy were two of her favorites. As a proud Venetian, she took great pleasure serving on the board of the Venice Historical Society. She was also proud of belonging to St. Mark Parish for over 50 years where she taught CCD and later served as a Eucharistic minister. In addition to the beach, her job, her church and her volunteer work she loved hiking, her garden, playing bridge, yoga, the arts, book club, bananas, a laugh and a dash of sherry. She was a woman of strong faith, integrity, warmth and compassion, with a great sense of humor and a remarkable laugh. She was preceded in death by her parents and husband. She is survived her son Michael P. (Michelle) McGuirk and daughters Peggy M. Perez, and Anna M. McGuirk, grandchildren Mona Perez, James and Taylor McGuirk, sisters Corinne and Rita, brothers Richard and Leo Jr. (Buddy) and countless friends and extended family. A celebration of Mary's life will be held at St. Marks Church, 940 Coeur d'Alene Ave., Venice, California on Saturday, July 23 at 12:30pm, followed by a reception at the church hall. A private interment, at Holy Cross Cemetery, will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Venice Historical Society, PO box 12844, Venice, CA 90295. Gates, Kingsley, Gates Santa Monica, 310-395-9988
Published in Los Angeles Times from Jun. 24 to Jun. 26, 2011.