Mary D. Lucier, 98

Mary Dorothea (Riordan) Lucier passed away peacefully at home on Wednesday, May 22 with her children and close friends at her side. She was 98.

Mary was the child of the late Grace (Janvrin) Riordan and Thomas Riordan. She was pre-deceased by her first husband, Walter Leo Bailey, who was the father of Grace and Eileen, and second husband, Walter Lucier, who was the father of Walter and Joseph. She was also predeceased by her long term friend, the late Bill Benoit.

One of 14 children, Mary is survived by her sisters Elizabeth Lucier of Randolph and Bertha Runnals of Stoughton; her children, Grace Rosemond (and her partner Peter Collins) of Pembroke, Eileen Walsh and her husband Paul of Weymouth, her sons Walter (and his partner Rashmi Vasudeva)  and Joseph Lucier, both of Quincy; six grandchildren, Colleen and Charlene Rosemond, Nancy Grogan, Paul and Patrick Walsh, and Walter Lucier; and six great-grandchildren, Marisa Montenegro, Camyrn and Dylan VonDette, Chace MacDonald, and Declan and Brayden Walsh.  Mary was also the grandmother of the late Christine Rosemond.

Her late siblings include sisters Eileen Fallon, Viola Parker, Grace Hurley, Rita Hartigan, Thelma Cuddy, Lorraine Jackson, Gloria James, and brothers Anthony, Paul, Thomas and William Riordan.

Born in Boston, Mary grew up in the neighborhoods of Roxbury, Mattapan, and Hyde Park. She raised her children in Roxbury, Jamaica Plain and Dorchester. She also lived briefly in Braintree then settled in Quincy 50 years ago.

As a young woman during World War Two, Mary joined millions of other women working in war production industries, operating a drill press at the South Boston Gillette factory which had converted to war production. For almost 30 years, Mary was associated with the Quincy Community Action Program, first as a volunteer and later as a member of the Board of Directors, serving with her special friends, directors Beth Ann Strollo and the late Rosemary Wahlberg. Her activities with QCAP earned her recognition from the Quincy City Council, the Mass. State Senate and the Mass. House of Representatives, whose member Bruce Ayers was a long-time friend and a supporter of individuals with disabilities. As a survivor of childhood polio, Mary was an early advocate for handicapped accessibility for public buildings and for curb cuts to make sidewalks accessible for wheelchair-bound persons by serving on Quincy’s first Commission on Handicapped Affairs, an advisory committee established for the implementation of the American with Disabilities Act.  She also served as founder and President of AID, Aid to Individuals with Disabilities, an advocacy organization for handicapped persons. Her service and advocacy for handicapped persons earned her an award from the Mass. Rehabilitation Commission. She was also a member and volunteer with the New England and South Shore Post Polio support groups. Her volunteer work included service with the South Shore Coalition for Human Rights, working with her special friends, the late Abe Cohen and the late Enid Lubarsky. She was proud to be an advocate and liaison for persons seeking emergency food, housing and counseling services, serving as a member of the Quincy Housing Authority. Because of her service to Quincy, the city’s chapter of AARP honored her at a National Women’s Month luncheon. For almost 30 years, Mary was a volunteer and participant with the Simon of Cyrene Society, an organization founded by Sr. Peggy Youngclaus and the late Fr. Tom McDonald. The society provided a monthly luncheon and Catholic Mass for persons with disabilities.  Mary completed a pilgrimage with the society to Medjugorje, where she believed Blessed Mother Mary appeared to the faithful, and was blessed there.

Mary was a graduate of Mansfield Beauty Academy. Although never trained in music, Mary could sing and play piano “by ear,” having grown up in a musical family led by her mother Grace, who had studied music and learned to play the piano. It was Grace who inspired an informal family “orchestra,” and the “Riordan Quartet” of her children, several who would perform professionally as adults. Mary was always quick with a tune from her youth, especially Irish American songs such as, “When Irish Eyes are Smiling,” “My Wild Irish Rose,” and “Oh Danny Boy,” plus a number of other popular tunes such as, “You Are My Sunshine,” “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” “Home on the Range,” “Nothing Could Be Finer,” “St. Louis Blues,” “That Old Feeling,” and hundreds of others. But her musical interests were vast: she also loved melodies by the Beatles, songs from the Great American Songbook by Rod Stewart, and anything by 1960s star Engelbert Humperdinck. Without a doubt her favorite singer, and actress, was Judy Garland, whose version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” was her all-time favorite song.

Mary held a special place in her heart for her friend and professional Irish singer Margaret Dalton McCarron who arranged for her colleague, renowned Irish singer Dan O’Donnell, to pay Mary a home visit with a song. Even when watching television, Mary sought out musical programs, being a favorite fan of “Going My Way,” Catholic TV’s sing-along show hosted by Fr. Chris Hickey, Pastor of Holy Mothers Collaborative, Hanover. She also loved “America’s Got Talent” and “Dancing with the Stars.”

One of Mary’s favorite hobbies was visiting yard sales and collecting Knick Knacks, which were displayed throughout her home.

Like many women of her generation, Mary learned to drive later in life, and when she could no longer do so, she loved to go for rides to her favorite spots, Castle Island, Nantasket Beach, and Hampton Beach. She also enjoyed a vacation in the Bahamas.

Mary’s later years were assisted and made joyful by her “miracle worker” aides and friends Keteline, Laverne, Antonietta, Marie, Zola, Rose, Margaret, Margo, Sarah and Lelia.

Mary’s service was handled by Mann and Rodgers Funeral Home, Jamaica Plain. Her Funeral Mass was at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, Jamaica Plain, and she was interred at Mt. Hope Cemetery, Boston, all on June 4.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Quincy Community Action Program, 1509 Hancock St., Quincy, MA 02169 and the Simon of Cyrene Society, P.O. Box 54, South Boston, MA 02127.

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