Floral 14

Ellen Marie (Reardon) McGaffigan

September 7, 1936 ~ June 11, 2023 (age 86) 86 Years Old
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It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of our beautiful mom, Ellen Marie McGaffigan, who died peacefully at home surrounded by family after a lengthy battle with dementia. She was 86.  


Known for her sense of humor, generosity, work ethic and strong opinions, Ellen was truly one of a kind, and her warmth and outgoing personality left an impression on everyone who was lucky to know her. Ellen was born on September 7, 1936, in Watertown, the fifth of six children born to John and Bridget Reardon (McHugh).  


Shortly after graduating from Saint Patrick’s School in Watertown, Ellen began her career as a secretary at Lewis Shepherd in Watertown. It was there that she met her husband James H. McGaffigan, Jr. (Jim) A mechanical engineer and man who would not take “no” for an answer when it came to a date.  


They married in 1960 and settled in Wayland and started a family. A career opportunity for Jim in the seventies moved them to suburban Chicago. This was very daunting. It meant leaving their large extended family behind. In Illinois, they raised their two girls, hosted countless neighborhood gatherings, and made lifelong friends. Their close friendships in Illinois in fact made it as hard to leave there as it had been to move there. But return they did, returning to Massachusetts as empty nesters in the late eighties where they would remain until Jim’s death from chronic myelogenous leukemia on New Year’s Day 1998.  


In addition to Lewis Shepherd, Ellen worked as an administrative assistant in various settings throughout her career. While in Illinois Ellen worked many years for the Rich Township School District in Olympia Fields. A few years later, Ellen and Jim would obtain their Illinois real estate licenses. After returning to Massachusetts, she worked for twelve years at McLean Hospital in Belmont.


Ellen was an avid and talented bridge player, excellent seamstress, and well known for her knack with Christmas crafts. She was deeply proud of her Irish heritage and loved traditional Irish music. Most of all though, Ellen was a loving and devoted wife and mother; steadfast supporter of her daughters, and unwavering advocate and caretaker for Jim in his final years.  


Ellen is survived by her daughters Marianne McGaffigan of Waltham, and Jill M. McGaffigan-Votruba (Steven) of Winchester, and her sister Mary McFarlin (Francis), twenty nieces and nephews, and many dear friends.  


In addition to Jim, she was preceded in death by brothers Edward P., John, and James M. Reardon, as well as her sister Theresa (Crouse).  


Family and friends are invited to attend visiting hours on Friday, June 16, 2023 from 5-7 at MacDonald, Rockwell, and MacDonald Funeral Home, Main Street, Watertown. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Saturday, June 17, 2023 at 10:00 at the Church of Saint Patrick, Main Street, Watertown. Burial will take place at Ridgelawn Cemetery, Watertown.  


In lieu of flowers, donations in her name may be made to the Watertown Catholic Collaborative Food Pantry, 617-926-9680, 770 Mount Auburn Street, Watertown, MA 02472 or Christ’s Heart Ministries 127 West Central Street, Natick, MA 01760.

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June 16, 2023

5:00 PM to 7:00 PM
MacDonald Rockwell MacDonald Funeral Home
270 Main St.
Watertown, MA 02472

Mass of Christian Burial
June 17, 2023

10:00 AM
Church of Saint Patrick
212 Main Street
Watertown, MA 02472


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