Mary J. (Brigham) Buckley, of Sherborn, formerly of Essex, died peacefully at home in the presence of her family on Tuesday, September 27, 2022 surrounded by much love and beauty. She was 89.
Born in Medford on November 11, 1932 she was a daughter of the late Fredrick H. and Irene C. (McGowan) Brigham. She grew up in Winchester and was a graduate of Notre Dame Academy in Boston and earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Social Work from Regis College.
She married Francis William 'Bill' Buckley in October of 1955 at Saint Mary's Church in Winchester. The match was a magical one and the two lived for a short period of time in Texas while Bill was stationed at Fort Bliss before returning to Massachusetts for the birth of their first child and ultimately settled in Essex to raise their family. A place where their love of nature, ocean and people became the center of their lives.
Mary lived as she believed. She always held fast to the trust in the goodness of the human spirit and could often be heard saying that all the world's problems could be solved if everyone just helped one other person. Mary's nature was to heal and uplift -something that was well-suited to her career in Social Work. She found joy in her work straight out of college when she worked as a Medical Social Worker at St Elizabeth's in Brighton and with Children's Services in Cambridge before she was married. Mary was a woman ahead of her time and continued to work whilst raising and caring for her large extended family. Throughout her life in Essex she worked in the Town's Welfare Office, The Essex Housing Authority and held several other titles such as Medical Secretary, Receptionist and Hostess to name a few. Along with working she could often be found volunteering particularly for St John's Parish. Even in her retirement she worked as receptionist for several years with the Sisters of Notre Dame in Ipswich, coming full circle in her life to reconnect with some of the same teachers she had in high school- a place where she met some of her dearest friends and always mentioned were very happy years.
For those who knew her best they can attest to the fact that her most powerful work took place informally around her kitchen table. She was an exceptional listener and there was never anything more important than the one who found themselves there with her, no matter the time, day or night - coffee could always be found brewing and her spirit eager to lend a hand. Whether to soothe a heart, offer guidance or lend support- she was always the one upon which others could depend. Somehow there always enough… Enough time, enough food and enough of everything to go round.…. Room to sit, food to eat, places to sleep or refuge to be had. She had deep faith, a quick and warm smile and was forever filled with boundless energy to nurture and tend. All of which she found particularly easy to do in the musical atmosphere of her husband's piano playing. The sounds of people laughing, gathered round the piano, playing music and singing- it was the soundtrack of their lives.
Mary continued to hold true to herself through the early death of her husband during their 50s and as a widow facing the challenges of growing old and even in her decision to leave her home to live at St Patrick's Manor, Framingham, MA where she found a renewed sense of purpose and joy through her many connections and volunteering whether in the gift shop or selling raffle tickets by the front door. She was forever giving, it was her nature and even in her passing she continued to give healing and love to all those fortunate enough to be with her.
She leaves this legacy with her Children Mark Buckley (Ann) of Essex, Michael Buckley (Jackie) of Southport, Maine, Kevin Buckley (Peggy) of Scarborough, Maine, Denise Jacobson (Mark) of Beverly, Brian Buckley (Irma) of York, Maine, Terry Buckley (Brenda) of Salem, and Eileen Buckley of Sherborn; her siblings Frederick H. Brigham, Jr. (Ann) of West Virginia, Lois A. Saltalamacchia of Newbury, MA, Sister Martha C. Brigham RCE of Framingham, MA and the late Robert E. Brigham (Quincy) and Christine B. Brigham (Annisquam). She also leaves many, many loving grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews. And her friends so loyal and true right through to the end that their caring is too amazing to be left off the list! ( you know who you are, Sue!!)
The family would also like to recognize and offer a deep bow of gratitude to the many friends and caregivers at St Patrick's Manor in Framingham where until recently Mary lived out the last few years of her life before moving back with her family. The exceptional care and love extended during that time was truly amazing and will be forever in our hearts.
Family and friends will honor and celebrate Mary's life by gathering at The Joyce Funeral Home, 245 Main Street, (Rt. 20), Waltham on Monday, October 17, 2022 at 9 AM, before leaving in procession to Saint Mary's Church 155 Washington St, Winchester, where her Funeral Service will be celebrated at 11AM. Burial will follow at 1pm in the Spring Street Cemetery, Essex and all are welcome to gather for a memorial reception afterwards at St John the Baptist Church Hall, Essex.
In lieu of flowers the family would like to ask that donations be made to The Religious of Christian Education Scholarship Fund in Mary's memory. Checks can be made out to Religious of Christian Education (in memory of Mary Buckley) and mailed to Religious of Christian Education , PO Box 17371, Smithfield, RI 02917
For those that may not be aware Martha Brigham RCE (Mary's sister) is a member of the congregation. They continue their mission of education in the form of scholarships - many of which have benefited the people that cared for Mary and that she knew at St Patrick's Manor.