Marie B. Finnegan

Teacher, involved citizen, avid gardener 

Marie Finnegan. (Courtesy photo)

Marie B. (Keohane) Finnegan, a longtime resident of Harvard, died June 14, 2019, surrounded by her loving family.

Marie, born January 28, 1931 in Chestnut Hill to John Stephen Keohane and Mary Agatha (Swan) Keohane, was the seventh of nine children. Marie is preceded in death by her husband, Laurence M. Finnegan, to whom she was married for 61 years. Marie grew up in Newton, attending school at Mt. Alvernia in Newton and then Notre Dame Academy in Tyngsborough before transferring to Newton High School for her senior year. Marie’s first date with Larry was on December 5, 1947, the night of the Joe Louis/Jersey Joe Wolcott fight. They both graduated from Newton High School a few months later in June 1948.

Marie attended St. Joseph’s College in West Hartford, Connecticut, and Lesley College, where she completed her child psychology degree in 1952. A beloved elementary school teacher, Marie began her career in North Haven, Connecticut, and later continued it in Milton, Massachusetts. After their wedding in 1955, Marie and Larry moved to San Francisco, where she continued teaching in Piedmont, California and at San Francisco College. Returning to Massachusetts in 1960, Marie paused her teaching career after starting a family with Larry. Marie’s focus was always on her children so when she enrolled her two daughters, Sheila and Lesley, at the Village Nursery School, Marie became a volunteer teacher there to spend more time with them. Later, when her daughters went to elementary school, Marie went with them, teaching second grade at the Harvard Elementary School for three years.

Marie and Larry moved to Harvard in 1965, both struck by Harvard’s rural beauty. Marie loved the small-town character of Harvard and she was proud to be an involved citizen, active in many organizations in town. She volunteered at Harvard Help from its inception, was active for years in the League of Women Voters, was a docent at Fruitlands Museum, and worked as an election volunteer. Marie was also an avid gardener and a member of the Garden Club of Harvard. For 50 years Marie never missed Annual Town Meeting and always used it as an opportunity to work on her knitting. Throughout her life Marie was an active blood donor, who gave gallons to the American Red Cross over her lifetime.

Marie is survived by her children: Stephen Finnegan and his wife Mary; Mark Finnegan and his wife Hilary; Sheila First and her husband Tim; and Lesley Shepherd. She was a loving grandmother to her nine grandchildren: Katherine Finnegan, Conor Finnegan, Mark Finnegan, Jr., Kathleen Finnegan, Michael Finnegan, Tyler Shepherd, Will Shepherd, Sam Shepherd, Lily Shepherd, Andrew First, and Nicky First. Marie is also survived by her brother, Laurence Keohane, her sisters-in-law Marilyn Keohane and Elizabeth Mascia, as well as many loving nieces and nephews, all of whom she cherished.

Calling hours for Marie will be held at the Badger Funeral Home, 347 King Street, Littleton, June 26 from 4 to 7 p.m. In lieu of flowers, Marie would have been pleased if those who are comfortable doing so would give a blood donation to the American Red Cross.

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