|Birth: ||Jun. 28, 1920|
|Death: ||Mar. 30, 1986|
Philadelphia Daily News; Wednesday, April 2, 1986, Page 56:
"Marie Byrne, a lovable Irish mother who took in neighborhood runaways but was tough enough to keep them and her own kids in line, died Sunday. She was 65 and lived in Havertown, Delaware County. Raised in the Swampoodle section of Philadelphia, the former Marie Kelly was a 1938 graduate of John W. Hallahan High School. She worked at Tastykake's Hunting Park plant for more than 20 years. Her house was a gathering place for all of her children's friends and occasionally would be a refuge for the youngster who had a rip at home. The runaway might stay a few hours or a few days. But any youngster soon found out that "she wouldn't be soft on anybody," recalled Brian Byrne, a son. ''They would get whacked by Mrs. Byrne too. You could come home for supper and never know who would be there, sitting at the kitchen table for supper." Kids and adults liked being around her. It wasn't the lure of her kitchen, noted Brian. "Her idea of a meal was opening three different cans." Nor was it her ability to tell a good joke; she usually popped the punch line first, if she remembered it at all. "She was the adopted American mother for kids who came here from Ireland," said Jean Marie O'Neill, a daughter. "They all loved her." One who loved her was family friend Mary Byrne. Since there were already two Aunt Mary Byrnes in the family, the kids called her "Uncle Mary." After Marie died, "Uncle Mary" dropped off a letter to the kids which was written to Marie. In the letter she wrote: "It was 43 years ago we met. You were so full of life, so outgoing, so determined to make life easier for all around you. You were so smart at work, so quick to learn. You were the one chosen for all the special jobs. The rest of us were just part of the group. . ." Strict about education, she drove all four of her children toward college degrees, which they all obtained, and two of them earned master's degrees. And she helped find them jobs to pay for their educations. Their careers were a great source of pride to her in later years. Brian said that if he or any of the other kids got into trouble at parochial school and got thrashed by the nuns, "mother would give me another beating for making the nuns upset." For about 15 years, Marie Byrne played Santa Claus for the family, the neighborhood and at Tastykake. She donned the red suit, and her kids, who had jobs at the plant at various times to earn college money, would get red faces. "Mom would make everyone in the cafeteria sit on her lap and tell her what they wanted for Christmas," said Jean Marie, "even the president of the company. I think one year he told her he wanted a new Lincoln." She retired from Tastykake in 1974. A member of St. Bernadette's Church, the Legion of Mary and the Cavan Society, she was a regular churchgoer who had a private prayer list of countless people on it. She was always volunteering her service. When her own efforts didn't seem to be enough, she volunteered her children. "She was always the boss," said Jean Marie. "She had written instructions on how everything was to be done when she died. She wrote what Irish songs were to be played after the Mass and at the open-bar gathering later. " Despite two years of illness, she wouldn't give in. "One day she would be in intensive care and the next day out shopping," said Jean Marie. "She loved to shop and spend money. The Saturday before she died, we shopped and she joked that she would 'charge up everything and if I die you don't have to pay for it.'" Her husband, Eugene Byrne, died in 1971. She also is survived by another daughter, Margaret Byrne Campbell; another son, Kevin; three grandchildren, Maura Jean O'Neill, John Henry O'Neill and Sean Andrew Campbell; a sister, Katherine Lenahan; and a dear friend, Tom McDonagh. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated 10 a.m. Friday at St. Bernadette's Church, Turner Avenue near Bond Avenue, Drexel Hill. Burial will be in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Cheltenham Avenue above Easton Road, Cheltenham Township, Montgomery County. Friends may call from 7 to 9 tomorrow night at the Robert L. D'Anjollel Building, 8645 West Chester Pike, Upper Darby."
The Philadelphia Inquirer; Wednesday, April 2, 1986, Section E Page 12:
March 30, 1986, MARIE M. (nee Kelly), of Havertown, wife of the late Eugene and mother of Margaret Bryne Campbell, Brian, Kevin, and Jean Marie O'Neill; also survived by her sister, Mrs. Catherine Lenahan, 3 grandchildren and her good friend, Thomas McDonagh. Relatives and friends are invited to her funeral Fri., 8:45 A.M., from The New Robert L. D'Anjollel Building, 8615 West Chester Pike, Upper Darby, Pa. (below Twp. Line Rd.). Mass of Christian Burial, 10 A.M., St. Bernadette's R.C. Church, Drexel Hill. Int. Holy Sepulchre Cem. Viewing Thurs. eve. 7 to 9 P.M."
Holy Sepulchre Cemetery
Created by: Donna Di Giacomo
Record added: Mar 21, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 107032575