Margaret G. (Gillis) O'Brien

February 16, 2018

Margaret G. O’Brien

Scituate, MA, Margaret (Margy) Gillis O’Brien died February 15, 2018, surrounded by family after a long illness. Born in Wellesley in 1930, she attended the Academy of the Assumption and was a graduate of the College of New Rochelle. During her college summers, she was a counselor and life guard at Camp Fernwood. Margy’s parents Walter J. and Anna (Duffly) Gillis, brothers Walter and Frank preceded her in death.

After college, Margy worked at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in the biology department. Once married to Fred O’Brien and with new baby in tow, they moved to the Minot section of Scituate to be closer to family and friends. It was during this time, that many of her O’Brien nieces and nephews spent the summers with their ‘cool’ Auntie and Uncle, little knowing they were actually there to babysit their youngest cousins. Some of the nephews – and you know who you are – might want to share the Ivory soap and Camp Wianno story with your own families. If you don’t, we could….

Margy was an avid tennis player, loved gardening, reading, doing crossword puzzles and tackling 1000+  piece jigsaw puzzles. She loved her Red Sox, tennis’ Grand Slam, the Triple Crown, and playing Mahjong with friend Dee Schmid. Talk radio was the soundtrack of her life, especially at night. She also enjoyed traveling, visiting her O’Brien / Gillis / Duffly families; to Europe on business and for pleasure, with lifelong friends Carol Burns and Margy Charles her frequent travel companions. As fellow alumni, she and Margy Charles regularly attended College of New Rochelle class reunions.

Margy returned to work as a special education teacher in the Hanover schools. Healthcare called her back, beginning at Tufts New England Medical Center where she worked with Dr. John Growdon. His practice took them to MGH with the Memory and Movement Disorders clinic (now Memory Disorders Division) affiliated with the Neurology department where she was known reverently, or not, as “Mrs.  O’Brien.” In retirement, Margy was a volunteer with Elder Services, visiting seniors in their homes. She lived a faith-filled life which included nearly 12 years in vigil to preserve her church, St. Frances X. Cabrini. Though that effort was unsuccessful, her faith remained strong. Despite losing her vision, and slowed by ill health, she never lost sight of what was truly important: family, friends and faith. “In a perfect world,” we might be sitting around her kitchen table, sharing funny stories and laughing with a favorite beverage in hand (Chardonnay for Margy).

Mother of Peg, Ruth (Mark), Kate (Cliff) and Fred. Preceded in death by her husband Fred and daughter Libby. Also survived by her step-children Margy, Nancy (deceased), Joanne, Joe, Beth, Tom and Stephen McCarron and former husband Joe McCarron (deceased). She also leaves behind numerous grand and great grand children, many nieces and nephews and her St. Frances X. Cabrini family.

Relatives and friends are invited to celebrate Margy’s life February 25, 2:00-5:00 pm at McNamara-Sparrell Funeral Home (, 160 So. Main St. (across from St. Anthony Church), Cohasset. A funeral mass will be held at 10:00 am February 26 at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church, 10 Summer Street, Cohasset, Mass. Burial will be private.

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