Eileen Marie Devlin MacPherson, 69, of Waltham, passed away surrounded by her husband and best friend of 43 years, Keith MacPherson, and loving family on Tuesday, October 17, 2023.
Born in Boston to the late Paul V. “Grampy” Devlin and Mary B. Melly, she was raised in a bustling Irish Catholic household of seven children and graduated from Lexington High School in 1972 and Emmanuel College in 1976. She served as the President of Aronson Insurance, and as a testament to her work ethic and passion for serving others, was with the company for over 30 years, continuing to assist the community in semi-retirement as a Special Advisor.
The third of seven children, she took on the role of leader of the “Devlin Tribe” from a young age. Eileen, as her siblings and parents would say, “brought the fun”, while also keeping everyone in line. One minute she’d be piling you in the car to get to church on time, and the next treated you to milkshakes at Burger King for being good kids. She developed an unparalleled work ethic at a very young age holding down two jobs at Grover Cronin Domestics and Nim’s Caterers, where she worked with her beloved sister Kathleen and future love of her life, Keith, to ensure that she could attend college.
She was a motivator; someone that wouldn’t let you off the hook when she knew that you deserved more in life. She believed that you should be the hardest worker in the room and then celebrate your successes fully with those that love you. She drove each of her family members to be the best versions of themselves and for that we’re forever grateful. She led with pure love and laughter, much of which stemmed from her unshakable bond forged with her husband, Keith.
You would never say “Eileen” without “Keith”. They were inseparable for more than 43 years of marriage. Even while working two full time jobs and raising six wonderful children, they still managed to volunteer all over town – it was like a “Where’s Waldo” of where the Macs would be next. Selling hot dogs at Pop Warner games, braiding girls’ hair for cheerleading, driving to Show Choir competitions, and dressing wiggly little kids into Santa costumes for the Christmas Show at Reagle Players – together they did it all. And on top of all of this, each holiday season hosted wildly fun and chaotic MacPherson/Devlin Family Thanksgiving and Christmas parties featuring Ugly Sweaters, Bailey’s and the world renowned Chateau meatballs. “Eileen and Keith’s house” was synonymous to a loving haven filled with parties, music, laughter, food, and ice cold beers waiting for you on the deck.
Eileen’s commitment to family and the unending support of each individual’s journey was unmatched and drove her throughout her life. She was a fiercely dedicated mother to six brilliant, hard-working children and a second mother to dozens of nieces, nephews, in-laws and beautiful grandchildren, all of whom will carry her spirit of devotion to family and pure love of life forward. She was passionate about her Irish heritage and cherished her trips to Ireland with Keith, Grampy Devlin, her siblings, children and extended family and friends. These trips ignited an unending well of joy in her heart. She will forever be our Galway girl.
Her generosity and organization knew no bounds. Every Christmas card was pristine, albeit hilarious to see the transformation of 1990s sweaters; each trip was carefully planned and costumed, and weekly trips to Costco were the norm to make sure that each of her children had what they needed, tenfold. With Eileen and Keith around, no one would want for anything – in fact, they had enough to share with the entire dorm/football team/drama club!
She always made time to give fastidious advice to anyone who needed it, even if her own tank was on empty. She was everyone’s biggest supporter. She was who we all aspire to be.
While she was taken too soon, we will always hear her laughter and see her smile in the sunsets of Drakes Island Beach, a place that brought her peace and relaxation. She first discovered the area in the mid-90’s and encouraged Grampy Devlin to rent a place for the family. His monthly rental turned into her and Keith buying a cottage, which they renovated to make room for their ever-growing brood. Seeing the joy that the island brought encouraged her siblings Kathleen and Jimmy to purchase homes right next door and across the street and thus, the “Drakes Island Family Compound” was born. This stunning escape has provided a landscape of good Craic, tricycles, dancing in the grass, larger than life storytelling, fire pits, cigars and endless music flowing. They built a beautiful home enhanced by meticulously cared for, overflowing flower boxes that were so deserving of praise that people often stopped to take photos. Like everything she did in life, Eileen put her heart and soul into these special boxes to share joy with others.
Eileen is survived by her husband, Waltham Chief of Police (ret.) of Waltham, Keith D. MacPherson; children Ian MacPherson, his wife Lauren, and their children Gannon, Rylan and Keeley of Kennebunk, Maine; Waltham Police Lieutenant Kaitlyn Mercurio, her husband Cory, and their son Freddie of Waltham; Erin Smith, her husband Andrew, and their daughters Devlin and Annabelle of Westford; Daniel MacPherson, his wife Dr. Kelly MacPherson, and their daughter Parker of Johnston, Rhode Island; Ryan MacPherson and his wife Evelyn Wenger of New York, NY; and Devin MacPherson of Waltham. She also leaves behind brother Paul Devlin of Lexington; sister Mary Fredrickson and her husband Peter of Weymouth; sister Kathleen Devlin of Wells, Maine; sister Triscia Puopolo and her husband Frank of Georgetown; and brother Captain James Devlin, MSP, (ret.) of Worcester; as well as in-laws Nancy Devlin of Wilmington; Roderick “Rory” MacPherson of Putnam, Connecticut; and Alison Prescott of Upton. She is loved and celebrated by dozens of nieces, nephews and friends all over the world. She is predeceased by her daughter Elise, her loving parents, in-laws William and Marion MacPherson, and brother, Trooper Thomas Devlin, MSP.
Family and friends will honor and remember Eileen’s life by gathering for calling hours in The Joyce Funeral Home, 245 Main Street (Rte. 20), Waltham on Sunday, October 22nd from 2 to 5 p.m. and again at 9 a.m. on Monday morning before leaving in procession to Our Lady Comforter of the Afflicted Church, 880 Trapelo Road, Waltham where her Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Burial will be in Mount Feake Cemetery, Waltham.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the John’s Hopkins Heart and Vascular Institute ARVD/C Program: https://secure.jhu.
. . . “We will love you forever Eileen and know that you have found peace with the angels”