Margery Jacqueline (Howard) Cleary died at her Concord home on December 18, 2022 at age 91. She was happy and in good health right up until the day she died peacefully in her sleep. Margery was a lifelong resident of Massachusetts. She was born on June 19, 1931, grew up in Winthrop, raised a family with her beloved husband, Leonard James Cleary (Jim) in Winthrop and Pittsfield, and retired in Mashpee and Concord. She graduated from Winthrop High School in 1948 and from Windham School of Business in 1950. Throughout her entire life she was a person of strong faith, competitive spirit and generous empathy.
While raising her family, Marge shared her talents for organization, commitment and care at St. Teresa’s Church in Pittsfield (where she was President of the Rosary Sodality) and Christ the King Church in Mashpee. Marge was also a founding officer of The Mashpee Women’s Club.
As a young woman, Marge was featured in a Noxzema skin care ad that appeared in many national publications and worked as a legal secretary before getting married and starting a family upon her husband’s return from the Korean War in 1953. She also worked for the Berkshire County Treasurer’s Office, the American Red Cross and the Campfire Girls.
Her competitive spirit was channeled through support of her children’s athletic endeavors. She was a proponent of Title IX initiatives from the start and found particular pride in having seen her daughters participate and excel in many different sports. And she was never shy about refereeing from the sidelines. She also brought that commitment and passion to her own love of golf. Beyond her joyful days on the golf course (including her beloved Scotch foursomes with her husband), she helped to initiate the creation of a women’s locker room and worked to gain equal access to tee times for women members. In later years, she was a founder of The Lady Bogs at Quashnet Valley Country Club in Mashpee. Long before COVID made it commonplace, she worked to establish streaming services at her parish and took great comfort from attending daily mass online during her later years. She and her family have also always been grateful for the Eucharistic Ministers from Holy Family Parish who visited faithfully.
Her generosity was directed towards US Veterans, Special Olympics, local education initiatives and other Catholic charities, particularly St. Anthony’s Shrine on Arch St in Boston.
Marge was preceded in death by her husband Jim. Together, they raised a family of eight children. She is survived by her loving children, Leonard Jr and his wife Susan Andrew of Dickinson, TX; Diane M. of Concord, MA; David M. and his wife Margaret of Hobe Sound, FL; Linda J. of Springfield, MA; Maureen Laurin and her husband Joseph of Concord, MA; Dorothea Cvelbar and her husband Joseph of Palm Beach Gardens, FL; Joseph H. and his wife Nancy of Windsor, CT; and Robert F Cleary of Concord, MA. She is also survived by her siblings, Jean Donovan McNeish of Winthrop, MA; Webster and his wife Marie Howard of Lagrangeville, NY; and Eleanor Howard of Mashpee, MA along with her dear brother-in-law, James Schmidt of Norwood, MA.
She also is survived by her fifteen grandchildren who she adored, Timothy (Erica), James (Claudia) and Daniel Cleary; David II, Dillon, Sarah (James) and Susannah Cleary; Emile and Michael Laurin; Marin Cvelbar; Jacqueline and William Cleary; Jackson, Caitlyn and Lucy Cleary along with her great grandchild, Asher Cleary. She will also be missed by many loving nieces and nephews and many friends who she considered family.
Marge was predeceased by her parents, Webster and Eleanor (Casey) Howard and sisters Barbara Schmidt, Irene Wallace and Elizabeth Hourihan along with her brothers-in-law, Thomas Donovan, Richard Wallace and Daniel Hourihan and cousins, Richard and George Dennis.
Marge’s optimism, genuine concern for her neighbors, competitive spirit and love of family was appreciated by all those she touched. Her faith has enabled us to know that she will join her husband in guiding us through difficult times while sharing much love during times of celebration, like a New England Patriots’ Super Bowl victory. Or, at this point, just a Patriots’ victory.
And above all, Marge will be remembered for her “God love yous,” a compliment we were all delighted to receive, borne out of her deep faith, her eternal gratefulness and her love for all who were near to her heart.
Family and friends will gather for visiting hours in the Dee Funeral Home, 27 Bedford Street, Concord, MA on Tuesday, December 27th from 4 to 6 pm. Her funeral will be held on Wednesday, December 28th at 9 am from the Dee Funeral Home, with a Funeral Mass following at 10 am in Holy Family Parish, Monument Square, Concord, MA. Margery will be laid to rest beside her husband at the Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne, MA during a private committal service on Thursday, December 29th.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: Saint Anthony Shrine/Franciscan Food Bank, 100 Arch Street, Boston, MA 02110.
Arrangements are under the care of Dee Funeral Home & Cremation Service of Concord. To share a memory or to offer a condolence in Marge’s online guestbook, please visit www.DeeFuneralHome.com.