Mary Anne's Story

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Mary Anne McSwiggan peacefully passed from this life on October 12th, 2017 at North Shore Medical Center, Salem.
She was born on May 8th, 1924 in Saint Louis, Missouri, the eldest of six children to Harry Wildermuth and Mary (Newcomb) Wildermuth. She was the sister of Robert of Fairview Heights, Ill., Jean Hutter of St. Louis, Harry (deceased), Charles (deceased) and Arthur (deceased). She was raised and educated in East St. Louis, IL where she excelled at dance and relished being big sister to her younger siblings. She adored her family especially her father who lovingly encouraged her in all her endeavors. Tragically her father died prior to the war leaving Mary Anne and her mother to struggle to keep the family together. They succeeded, team mothering and working outside the home. Hard as it was, Mary Anne cherished her memories of her family all her years.
During the war she met a handsome young Army Air Force trainee during a respite, dancing on the riverboat “Admiral”. They were to be the love of each’s life and following VJ day, she married Sergeant Edward T. McSwiggan and returned to his hometown of Salem. He resumed to his employment at General Electric in Lynn and they were blessed with five children, Betty of Salem, Roberta of Anchorage, Judy of Mesa, Ariz., Janice of San Diego and Wayne of Mattapoisett. Succeeding generations include nine grandchildren and six great grandchildren.
Life was happiness for Mary Anne until history tragically repeated for her and she found herself widowed, jobless and provider for her four youngest children (Janice, the eldest was 14) in 1969. Fiercely determined to care for and protect her family, she quickly learned to drive and found employment as a teacher’s aide. She then moved to full time employment as the night operator at Salem Hospital where she continued to work until retirement.
Her naming was prophetic. Both Mary and Anne were Biblical mothers and the image suited Mary Anne perfectly. She found children irresistible and was her happiest in the midst of them – both hers and those of the whole neighborhood where she was pretty much the “other mother” to all the kids in reach.
She was gregarious, talkative and fun loving. In any situation she was able to find the sunny-side and go there. A lover of people, her first utterance upon greeting was invariably “How is…”.
She will be fondly remembered and sorely missed by friends and family alike.
Visiting hours for Mary Anne will take place on Monday, October 16, 2017 from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Murphy Funeral Home, 85 Federal St. (corner of North St.) Salem, MA 01970. A funeral service will be held on Tuesday October 17, at 11 a.m. at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, 24 St. Peter’s St. Salem. Interment will follow at Greenlawn Cemetery, 57 Orne St. Salem. For additional information or online guestbook please visit www.MurphyFuneralHome.com or call 978-744-0497.
Published on  October 16, 2017
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