Lillian (Demurjian) Finnegan, 96, of Milford and formerly of Danvers, passed away Wednesday, March 29, 2017, at Whitcomb House, Milford. She was the wife of the late John A. Finnegan, her husband of 58 years.
A first generation Armenian American, Mrs. Finnegan was born in Cambridge in 1921, the daughter of the late Hovagim and Khanum (Okoomian) Demurjian. She was a graduate of Simmons College, School of Home Economics, Boston in 1942. She began her career as a home economics teacher in the Salem and Beverly schools, with experience as a school cafeteria supervisor and summer camp dietician. In 1949 she resigned her position in Beverly due to “unusual circumstances.” While eligible for tenure, Miss Demurjian met the love of her life, music teacher, John Finnegan, and they were planning to marry in July. “Local policy made it impossible to continue teaching” in Beverly. Mrs. Lillian Finnegan joined the Marblehead Junior and Senior High Schools as a teacher of home economics and consumer education in the fall of 1949, where she remained until her first child was born.
A resident of Milford for the past 11 years, Lillian lived in Danvers for over 50 years, where she devoted herself to raising her three daughters and was an active member of her community. Lillian was a committed volunteer, always there for girl scouts, cheerleading squads or musical groups. She was a longtime member of the Hunt Hospital Aid Association in Danvers, most notably serving as president, where she was credited with raising thousands of dollars for life-saving equipment and scholarships, organizing the first ever “Evening with the Count Basie Orchestra” at the new Liberty Tree Mall and hosting the annual Pops Concerts with the North Shore Philharmonic Orchestra. Lillian was a fabulous cook, opening her home to family and friends for many occasions. She was known for her Armenian cooking, beef wellington and elegant desserts like flaming cherries jubilee and Christmas pudding, Barbie Doll cakes and her holiday yule log. She willingly shared her love of baking with anyone who wanted to learn. She enjoyed sewing, crossword puzzles, reading, and visits with her grandchildren, especially as babies.
She is survived by three daughters, Patricia A. Byram of Oakton, Va., Kathleen J. Finnegan and her husband, Charles Janson of Darien, Conn., and Jean E. and her husband, David Probert of Milford; a sister-in-law, Anna Demurjian of Millis; her grandchildren, Erin, Kevin, Christopher, Emma, Sarah, John and Cassandra; her first great-grandchild, Gavin; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins. She was predeceased by three loving brothers, Ashod Charles, Sooren and Ara Demurjian. She will be dearly missed by all across multiple generations.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Simmons Fund with Special Preference for Passionate Leaders, in memory of Lillian Demurjian Finnegan, Simmons, Class of 1942 at http://www.simmons.edu/alumni-and-friends/give/annual-giving/passionate-leaders www.bumafuneralhome.com.
A private viewing and burial will be held on Monday, April 3, at Buma-Sargeant Funeral Home in Milford and St. Mary’s Cemetery in Salem. A celebration of her life is being planned for a later date.
Published on  April 3, 2017