Mary Agnes (Kelly) O’Connell

BRUNSWICK – Mary A. O’Connell, 100, died peacefully on Oct. 19, 2023, at Sunnybrook Assisted Living in Brunswick. She was born Mary Agnes Kelly on Nov. 12, 1922, in East Boston, Mass., the only daughter of Mary Elizabeth (Boyan) and Joseph Edward Kelly. Raised with eight brothers, she was known by all as “Sis.”

She attended Notre Dame Academy (1939) and Regis College (1943). Upon graduation, she joined Northeast Airlines as a stewardess, most often working the routes between Boston and Canada’s Maritime Provinces, from which GIs would embark for Europe. She received numerous commendations from coworkers and passengers alike and, on April 12, 1945, was appointed the airline’s first Chief Stewardess. Among her favorite photos were two in her Northeast uniform, one with her brother Joe and the other with her husband-to-be, both in their Army Air Corps uniforms.

After the war, she taught mathematics in the Boston Public Schools until marrying her childhood sweetheart, James Stapleton O’Connell. The couple moved to Scituate, Mass. where Mary lived for 50 years. She was a long-time member of Scituate Harbor Yacht Club, a volunteer at church and at Boston’s Pine Street homeless shelter and a substitute teacher.

Mary moved to Maine in 2007 and has been a resident of Sunnybrook since 2018. She had a life-long passion for bridge through which she enjoyed many friendships.

She was predeceased by her parents; her husband James S. O’Connell; her son Joseph D. O’Connell; and seven of her brothers, Paul, William, Joseph, Charles, John, Gerard, and Leo Kelly. She is survived by her brother, Dr. Robert F. Kelly of Worcester, Mass.; her children Sarah F. Desbiens (Norman) of Soddy Daisy, Tenn., James S. O’Connell, Jr. of Wausau, Wisc., Janet M. Martin (Michael) of Rockland, Mass. and Joan O. Glass of Topsham; her daughter-in-law Karla Huntington of Eagle River, Alaska; nine grandchildren; 11 great grandchildren; and three generations of nieces and nephews, many of whom know her as Aunt Sis.

The family wishes to thank the extraordinary caregivers and staff at Sunnybrook and Gentiva Hospice.

She will be interred next to her beloved husband, Jim, at Cudworth Cemetery in Scituate, Mass. Remembrances may be left on the website of Brackett Funeral Home ( obituaries).

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