South Lawrence — Mary J. Christensen, 92, of South Lawrence died Friday, April 19, 2013, at the Lawrence General Hospital surrounded by her loving family.
She was born in Somerville, Mass., to the late Eugene and Catherine (Fearon) McDonald. After her mother's death at an early age, Mary was raised by her four wonderful aunts, Mary, Margaret, Ella and Rose Kiernan. Mary attended both St. Mary's Grammar School and High School, then made her home with her dad, Eugene, and step-mother, Margaret McDonald, while attending business school in Boston. Mary worked at Cherry & Webb, Metropolitan Life Insurance and the Tax Office of Lawrence City Hall.
After marrying the love of her life, Don, in 1954, Mary took time to raise her family. She later returned to work part-time and then full-time for the Automobile Club of Merrimack Valley (AAA). After 16 years she retired as manager of the Membership Department and enjoyed monthly lunch meetings with her friends in the Retirees Group.
Mary was an active communicant at St. Patrick's Parish in South Lawrence. For more than 50 years, she has been a member of Our Lady's Sodality of the Parish. She also, for many years, helped run the Religious Articles table after each Mass and was involved with the Outreach Group providing food to area shelters. Mary was an active member of St. Mary's Alumnae and worked hard every year to raise money for the sisters and the school via the annual Alumnae Christmas Fair.
Mary was also involved in teaching English to young Vietnamese and Cambodian mothers for the Elizabeth Ann Seton Asian Center. Mary was a woman of deep faith who watched the EWTN Mass daily and enjoyed reading, cooking and baking, and arts and crafts. She shared all these interests with her loved ones and used them to benefit many fundraisers.
Mary joins her beloved husband of 52 years, Donald Christensen, who passed to eternal life in May 2007. She leaves two daughters, Donna J. Christensen and Mary E. Christensen of Lawrence with whom she made her home. She also leaves her brother-in-law and sister-in-law, David and Marian Christensen; her cousins, Thomas McKiernan, Kathy Feltz, Mary Doiron, Bernard and William Kiernan, Betty Betts and family, Maria McCabe of Ireland, and Jeanne McKiernan; and several godchildren, nieces and nephews. She is also survived by her "adopted" Vietnamese families, Kieu Nguyen, Dan and Trang Tran, Loan and Binh Cao, and Ngoc Nguyen and children. She is lovingly known as "Grandma Mary" to Erin, Shaun, Kiana and Jayden Stetson, Tracy, John and Liam MacCurtain, Carrie, Jake, Lissette, Jacob and Jesse Rosko, Sandra, Franky, Aidan and Anthony Santiago, and Victor and Aileen Cancel. She leaves many other dear family members and friends whose prayers and support meant so much to her.
Mary was predeceased by her brother and sister-in-laws, Hans and Peg Christensen, Carolyn and John Ball, Robert and Lillian Christensen, Joe and Anna Carey; nephew and niece, Michael Christensen and Annabel Healy; cousins, Kay and Ed McCabe,Susan, Kay, Bernard and Rev. William Kiernan, C.P.
Mary's family would like to thank Dr. Phyllis Spieler who helped Mary meet several physical challenges for over 30 years, and Home Health Assistant Falisha Smerdon, of Bring Care Home, Inc. who lovingly helped Mary daily in her final days; the nurses of Merrimack Valley VNA; as well as nurse Linda Orf at the Lawrence General Hospital whose compassion made Mary's final hours comfortable.
ARRANGEMENTS: Family and friends are invited to a Mass of Christian Burial on Thursday at 9 a.m. at St. Patrick's Church, 118 So. Broadway, South Lawrence. Burial will follow in the Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in North Andover. Friends may call on Wednesday from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Conte Funeral Home, 17 Third Street, North Andover. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Mary Christensen's name may be made to St. Vincent de Paul Society, c/o St. Patrick's Church, 118 South Broadway, Lawrence, MA 01843 or Cor Unum Center at the same address, or to the Poor Clare Sisters, Monastery of St. Clare, 445 River Road, Andover, MA 01810. For directions or to place online condolences, please visit www.contefuneralhomes.com.