Cover photo for Jean M. (MacDonald) Arena's Obituary
Jean M. (MacDonald) Arena Profile Photo
1935 Jean Arena 2023

Jean M. (MacDonald) Arena

December 29, 1935 — April 4, 2023


“So faith, hope, and love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13

These theological virtues sustained Jean Arena throughout her 87 years on earth and when she drew her last breath she knew for certain she left a world in which she was loved, wanted, and needed . . .  and that she would be entering into the eternal reward promised to her on the day of her baptism. Awaiting her arrival in heaven was her beloved husband, Albert A. Arena, Sr. († July 17, 2018).

Mrs. Jean M. (MacDonald) Arena, of Waltham, died Tuesday, April 4, 2023 in the Miriam Boyd Parlin Hospice Home in Wayland.

Jean was born in Waltham on December 29, 1935, a daughter of the late Clarence and Margaret (Queenan) MacDonald. She was a 1953 graduate of Saint Mary’s High School in Waltham and studied at the Saint Elizabeth Nursing School.

Jean was a lifelong devout Catholic. Following her graduation from nursing school she joined the Dominican Sisters of Kentucky as a novitiate to discern the path in which God paved for her. Ultimately she was called to married life and wed fellow Waltham native Al Arena on September 8, 1969 in her home parish of Saint Mary’s on School Street. The pair shared almost fifty wonderful years together until his death in 2018.

Jean and Al made Waltham their lifelong home where they would raise their family. In her early years Jean worked as a registered nurse at Saint Elizabeth’s Hospital, Waltham High School, and lastly at Marsithill Nursing Home until her retirement. In addition to raising her children when they were young and being the beloved ‘Grammy’ to her seven grandkids, she was an active ‘sports mother,’ Cub Scout leader, Saint Jude School ‘lunch mother,’ and was a proud past president of the Nipper Maher Food Shack. On the weekends she was a member of the Saint Mary’s Choir during Mass. She never shied away from anything that helped others or benefitted the community.

In addition to her parents and husband, she was preceded in death by her siblings, the late Mary Frances Erickson, Clarence MacDonald, Jr., Robert MacDonald, William MacDonald and John MacDonald.

She leaves her children, Albert A. Arena, Jr. (Darlene) of Framingham, Andrew A. Arena (Christine) and Arthur A. Arena, all of Waltham; her grandchildren, Albert, III, David, Elizabeth, Rachel, Victoria, and Andrew Arena and Julia Hicks (Austin); her sisters, Margaret Keefe and Dorothea Farraher, both of Waltham and many nieces, nephews and their families.

Family and friends will honor and remember Jean’s life by gathering for calling hours in The Joyce Funeral Home, 245 Main Street (Rte. 20), Waltham, on Wednesday, April 12th from 4 to 8 p.m. and again at 9 a.m. on Thursday morning before leaving in procession to Saint Mary’s Church, 133 School Street, Waltham, where her Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Burial will follow in Mount Feake Cemetery, Waltham.

To watch a live broadcast (and recording) of Jean’s Funeral Mass please visit


To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Jean M. (MacDonald) Arena, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Calling Hours

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

4:00 - 8:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Funeral Mass

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Starts at 10:00 am (Eastern time)

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Thursday, April 13, 2023

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