Mary Ellen (Gunn) Coffey, age 52, of Norwell, passed away peacefully at home surrounded by her loving family on April 6, 2022. Loving wife of William C. Coffey and adoring mother of Liam, Sean, Bridget, Gracie, and Ronan. Beloved daughter of Thomas and Marlene (Dorsey) Gunn of Middleborough, formerly of Braintree. Loving sister of Thomas G. Gunn (Susan) of Kingston, and Laurice Vallancourt (Russell) of Hanson. Beloved daughter-in-law of the late William E. and Rosemary (O’Brien) Coffey. Sister-in-law of Edward Coffey (Mary Walsh) of Braintree, Tara Coffey of Norwell, and Kevin Coffey (Stephanie) of Brookline. Beloved aunt of Mary, Owen, Ryan, Erin, Kevin, Sam, Anthony, and Cillian. Also survived by an extended family and extraordinarily wide circle of dear friends.
A natural leader from a very young age, Mary Ellen left her mark on Braintree High as a student, class officer, athlete and three-sport captain. Since graduation, she could always be counted on to organize and run the Class of 1987 reunions. At Braintree High she also left a mark on her future husband, whom she met in math and Latin classes on the first day of their freshman year.
Mary Ellen earned undergraduate and graduate education degrees from Boston College. In her teaching career, she devoted herself to the struggling and marginalized students who needed an extra measure of support to realize their academic and personal potential. Initially in the Norwell Public Schools, and later at the Accord School, as well as independently as a special education advocate, Mary Ellen relished her role as champion of the underdog.
The quintessential example of the busy person to whom you went if you wanted something done, Mary Ellen generously served Norwell during her 23 years in town. Her volunteer activities included, but were not limited to: coach, coordinator, member and officer of countless boards and councils, CCD teacher and political campaign manager. Firmly believing that it takes a village, she supported wide ranging policies advocating for everyone from students to seniors and the beneficiaries of her efforts appreciated the endless energy she expended on their behalf.
Along the way she accumulated an incredibly wide array of lifelong friends from parts near and far, but none more dear than her crews from Braintree, Boston College and Norwell. First as companions, and later as loyal caretakers, they were honored to call her their friend. Moreover, even as Mary Ellen dealt with her own health issues in later years, they marveled that she was still eager to serve as their counselor and confidante.
Ultimately, of course, the role she relished most was serving as the selfless mother to her five children. From coaching their teams, to volunteering in their schools, to vacationing with them in two of her favorite places – Disney World and Green Harbor, Marshfield – she loved nothing more than effortlessly serving as the central axis around which the “Coffey 7” rotated. She was an extraordinary role model to them in how to deal with the events of life, in all their forms, with astonishing grit and grace.
Family and friends will celebrate Mary Ellen during visiting hours on Monday, April 11, 2022 from 4-8 pm in St. Helen Church, 383 Washington Street (Rt 53), Norwell, MA 02061. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Tuesday, April 12, 2022 at 11 am in St. Helen Church, 383 Washington Street (Rt 53), Norwell, MA 02061. Interment Stetson Meadows Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations to honor Mary Ellen’s lifetime of service to education may be made to the Mary Ellen Gunn Coffey Scholarship Fund, c/o Rockland Trust, 272 Columbia Road, Hanover, MA 02339.
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