Dr. Mary Julia Brosnan, of Newton, MA, born July 15th 1963, passed away peacefully at home surrounded by family on March 24th, 2021, after an incredible year and a half battle with pancreatic cancer. She was the eldest daughter of Tom and Maureen (née Ross) Brosnan in Leeds, England. Mother of Kerry and Katrina Brock and sister of Theresa Chadwick (Wigan, England) and Tom and Jillian Brosnan (Brisbane, Australia). Aunt of Liam, Joseph, and Emily Chadwick and Connor, Kelly, Matthew, and Reuben Brosnan. Best friend of John Piscitelli. Predeceased by beloved mother Maureen and brother-in-law Mark.
Julia attended Christ the King Primary School and Mount St. Mary's College in Leeds before studying for her BSc at Newcastle University and her PhD in Biochemistry at Oxford University. She crossed the Atlantic to take up a postdoctoral position at Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh) before crossing back again to take up an MRC fellowship at Edinburgh University. Julia's scientific acumen led to many important contributions that advanced treatments for patients suffering from diabetes, heart disease, liver disease and cachexia. Early in her career, Julia led research efforts in the areas of molecular medicine and human genetics helping to discover and advance novel therapies into clinical studies. She left Edinburgh to pursue a Senior Lectureship at University of Glasgow in Scotland. She moved back to the USA in 2004, residing in New York then Connecticut before moving to Massachusetts in 2011. Julia loved science and biology and left academia to join Pfizer in 2008 to be closer to health care and making a difference in the lives of patients. Julia's expertise and leadership were universally recognized by collaborators around the world. She was a key architect and leader of an on-going partnership between the European Innovative Medicines Initiative and academic and pharmaceutical partners to identify new strategies for diagnosing patients with liver disease. Julia also played an essential role partnering the Foundation of the NIH with industry and academic partners to advance understanding of the genetics behind Type 2 Diabetes.
Julia had a passion for anything outdoors and especially outdoor activities including hiking, running, and cycling. She was an accomplished athlete who won national championship medals in running and seemed to fly up steep hills on her road bike. She shared this passion with others and encouraged friends, neighbors, and colleagues alike to join her in various events. She created a Pfizer Cycling team to raise awareness and funds for a variety of charitable causes most especially and close to her heart, the American Diabetes Association with whom she also volunteered for years.
Julia loved her garden, and her flowers, especially sunflowers. She battled the squirrels every year to successfully get a mammoth sunflower to reach 12 feet. She loved spring and knew exactly where the first crocus and daffodil would appear in the neighborhood. She planted flowers in every new garden and leaves behind a legacy of flowering plants across her various homes.
Family and friends will honor and remember Julia's life by gathering for calling hours in The Joyce Funeral Home, 245 Main Street (Rte. 20), Waltham on Tuesday, March 30th from 4 to 7 p.m. Her Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Wednesday at 10 a.m. in Sacred Heart Church, 311 River Street, Waltham. Committal prayers will follow in Newton Cemetery, Newton.
To view Julia's Funeral Mass please visit https://my.gather.app/remember/mary-julia-brosnan at 10 a.m. on Wednesday morning, March 31st.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to either of the following:
The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network
The Tour De Cure Activities of the American Diabetes Association
A note from the funeral home pursuant to Governor Baker's recent order:
During times of uncertainty and crisis one might wonder what to do at the loss of a loved one or how to show support to a friend given the limitations that the pandemic continues to present.
Telephone your friend to offer words of love and support, give them a virtual hug, drop something delicious by the house, leave a condolence on the funeral home website, make a donation to their favored charity, send a card or flowers or have a Mass said, remain in touch, and above all else . . . say prayers for the deceased and their family and the world during this difficult and unprecedented time.
These simple gifts of sympathy and charity are more valuable than you will ever know.
When public wakes are held capacity limits mean that your visit should be brief to allow other guests time to say hello to the family. Only members of the immediate family remain present throughout.
It goes without saying that people who have lost someone are especially sensitive and understanding to the concerns that some of their own family members and friends may have about visiting any public places right now. If this does not feel like the right time for you to venture out please don't.
Space limitations also mean that funeral services inside the funeral home and in many places of worship will also be private. Most services, at the family's request, will also be livestreamed and recorded for future viewing. The link to access the channel is found at the bottom of the obituary notice online.
Cemetery services are included in the current outdoor gathering limit of twenty-five people.
During any events, public or private, common sense precautions prevail. That includes masks covering your nose and mouth, staying with your household group throughout the services and keeping a sensible distance.
Thank you . . . again . . . for your patience and understanding.