Mary A. (McKenna) Whalen, 96, of Warwick, died peacefully at her home on Thursday, June 17, 2021, surrounded by her loving family. She was preceded in death by her husband, George J. Whalen, who passed away in 1976.
Mary was born in Providence, RI, the daughter of two Irish immigrants, the late James C. and Susan T. (Neary) McKenna. Mary, herself an Irish citizen, graduated from St. Patrick’s High School, and studied at Bryant, Brown and the University of Rhode Island. She earned her PHM in Public Housing. Mary was a secretary at the Atlantic Refining Company and later, at St. Rose of Lima School. Mary worked at the Warwick Housing Authority for over 20 years, becoming the first woman to hold the position of Executive Director in the city. In this vocation she used her special talents to oversee and serve a diverse community with love and compassion. Mary was always committed to serving others. She loved her faith, her Irish heritage and, most of all, her family.
A lifelong Democrat, Mary and her late husband were active in politics. Both were founding members of St. Rose of Lima Parish, where Mary later was a Eucharistic Minister and a Past President of the Rosary and Altar Guild. She was an active member of the Save Hendricken Committee. More recently she served as a Board Member for both Bridgemark and the Warwick Interfaith Affordable Assisted Living.
Mary is survived by four loving children: Cheryl (Kevin) Cotter, of Warwick; George W. (Suzanne) Whalen, also of Warwick; James (Rosemary) Whalen, of Scituate; and Richard (Kathy) Whalen, of North Smithfield. Mary was also the proud and devoted “Nana” of 10 grandchildren: Ryan (Carolyn), Matthew (Micaela), Danielle, Kelly (Edward), Caitlin (Kent), Michael, Kathryn, Elizabeth, Meghan and Eileen. Mary was the sister of the late James J. (Mary) McKenna. She was the aunt of the late Mary Elizabeth (McKenna) Kelly. She is also survived by two nephews, Kevin and Robert McKenna.
Visiting hours will be held on Monday, June 21, from 4-7 PM in the Russell J. Boyle and Son Funeral Home, 142 Centerville Road (Route 117), Warwick.
Family and friends are welcome to attend a Concelebrated Mass of Christian Burial on Tuesday, June 22 at 10 AM in Sts. Rose and Clement Parish, 111 Long Street, Warwick. A Graveside Burial will follow in St. Ann’s Cemetery, Cranston. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Mary Elizabeth Kelly Memorial Scholarship Fund, care of Cranston HS West, 80 Metropolitan Ave, Cranston, RI 02920.
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Mary Elizabeth Kelly Memorial Scholarship Fund, care of Cranston HS West,
80 Metropolitan Ave, Cranston RI 02910