Evelyn Marie (Boyle) Finnegan, age 94, passed away on Tuesday, September 8, 2020. She was born in Dedham, Massachusetts on May 15, 1926. She graduated from Dedham High School in 1944 and Lesley University in Cambridge in 1948. At Lesley, she received her Bachelor of Science in Education with a focus on early childhood.
Her own childhood was filled with music: nearly every evening she played the piano accompanied by her brother, Clifford, an accomplished trombonist. In college, she met her husband-to-be, Paul, at Harvard where he and Clifford were roommates in Kirkland House.
Evelyn and Paul married on July 29, 1950 and resided in Scituate, Massachusetts where she taught first grade in the Scituate public schools. While raising their three children, she continued to teach and volunteer as a storyteller at the Scituate Public Library. Evelyn also hosted a children’s story hour on local cable television, animated by her favorite puppets, bunnies and ducks to entertain the children. She was elected as the first President of the Friends of the Library and later became a library trustee. In 1964, Evelyn was elected President
of the CPA Wives of Massachusetts and also served as President of the Scituate Garden Club. Later, Evelyn would become the children’s librarian at the Scituate Public Library where today the children’s wing is dedicated to her and her husband.
Evelyn committed her life to her family and love of children. After teaching first grade, she started her own nursery school in their home, which ultimately evolved into a kindergarten. She has written six children’s books which feature each of her grandchildren. One book integrates American history, while the others highlight the adventures of My Little Friend. One of her books, My Little Friend Goes to the Dentist, received the prestigious Ben Franklin Award.
To honor Evelyn’s lifelong commitment to early childhood learning, Lesley University named its extensive collection, The Evelyn M. Finnegan Children’s Literature Collection.
In her later years, Evelyn developed wonderful friendships at the Gasparilla Inn in Boca Grande, Florida and at The Mather in Evanston, Illinois. No matter where she lived or visited, she enjoyed holding book reading sessions for children and adults and very much looked forward to reciting ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’ during the holiday season.
Evelyn was a loving wife, mother and grandmother. She is survived by her two sons, Paul and wife, Mary (Evanston, IL) and Peter (Hanover, MA); and six grandchildren, Katherine, Paul, Alex (Evanston, IL) and Sara, Peter, Katie (Hanover, MA). She was preceded in death by her daughter, Lynne and husband, Paul.
A private burial will be held followed by a memorial celebration at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to the Scituate Library Foundation, 85 Branch Street, Scituate, MA 02066.