Irene Theresa McGrath, also known affectionately as “Nana”, passed away and will be laid to rest in Fairview Cemetery in Hyde Park, next to her beloved husband, Tom, known to many as “Papa.” When she died on Mother’s Day, May 10, 2020, her heart was filled with memories of a life made joyful by sharing it with her family.
Born in Somerville on November 21, 1927, Irene was the daughter of Mary Alice and William F Mills. She graduated from St. Joseph’s High School in Union Square, Somerville. Irene was gifted with a beautiful singing voice and performed in many Chi-Rho Musicals at Most Precious Blood Parish in Hyde Park alongside Thomas P. McGrath. They married on September 21, 1952 raising their family in Tom’s hometown of Hyde Park. Tom became President of the Hyde Park Cooperative Bank and was “I’s” beloved husband and best friend for fifty-seven years. Tom and Irene were devoted and engaged parishioners of Most Precious Blood Parish. Irene led the choir as a soloist and regaled the parishioners with a moving rendition of “Silent Night” every year at midnight mass.
Irene and Tom’s life revolved around their six children, their spouses, 14 grandchildren, and 9 great-grandchildren. Irene and Tom were Boston College football and hockey season ticket holders and fostered a love of sports in their kids. No playoff game was more exciting, no holiday more enjoyable, no game night more competitive than those at a large gathering of the McGrath clan. Irene made family members and her children’s friends welcome at the family home at 22 Pond Street. The large wrap-around porch there provided solace on a summer’s evening or joy at the next wedding. Sundays were a day of rest with a large dinner ready for whoever dropped by. Echoes of beautiful voices reverberated throughout the neighborhood at the annual choir party as Irene and Tom sang alongside their daughter-in law, Helen. Irene and Tom’s hilarious Halloween costumes left their children speechless only rivaled by those of Tom and Mary. Vacations in the woods of New England and road trips to Florida revealed Irene’s quick wit and resolve as she refused to sleep so she could keep a watchful eye on Eddie’s driving. She never forgave the Weiands for putting her on Disney’s Big Thunder Mountain. Tom and Irene’s move to Plymouth in later years was enriched by the antics of the raucous Harold family.
The McGrath family would like to thank all those family and friends who made living in Hyde Park a precious gift. She loved her home, her family, the neighborhood and church friends. We are forever grateful and want all of them to know how much they meant to Irene and to the family.
In addition to Tom, her parents, and five brothers and sisters, Irene has joined her favorite son, Peter, and cherished son-in-law Tom in heaven. Irene leaves six children: Thomas J. McGrath (Helen) of Yarmouth Port, Mary A. O’Neil (Tom) of Sandwich, Theresa H. Weiand (Eddie) of Marshfield, the late Peter W. McGrath, Joan E. Harold (Daniel) of Plymouth and Paul C. McGrath of Plymouth. Irene was the much loved Nana to Sarah, Katie, Jenny, Colleen, Erin, Meghan, Michael, Christine, Kenny, Tommy, Justin, Bridgette, Cameron, and Jeremy and their spouses. She was great-grandmother to Thomas, Lily, Harrison, Emily, Patrick, Andrew, Jason, Aidan, Timmy, Benjamin, and Charlotte. Irene is also survived by many loving nieces and nephews and her beloved sister-in-law Jean McGrath.
Given these extraordinary times, services are private. A Mass and Celebration of Irene’s life will be announced at a later date.
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