Marie Celine Lally (nee O’Donnell) was a caring wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister, cousin, in-law, aunt and friend. She died peacefully in the home that she shared with her husband on May 4, 2021, at the age of 89.
On October 8, 1931, Marie was born in Chicago IL to Daniel and Mary O’Donnell (nee Mulcrone)—natives, respectively, of Newport and Westport, County Mayo, Ireland. She grew up in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood, where she graduated from St. Angela (elementary) School and Siena High School.
While working for Illinois Bell, Marie met Michael Lally, whom she married while he was on leave from the U.S. Marine Corps in October of 1951. Following Mike’s tour in Korea, and some time living at Camp Lejeune NC, the young couple settled in Chicago, raising eight children: Thomas (Meribeth), the late Dan (Sue), Mary Pat (Michael) Madden, Kathleen, Helen, Peggy (Brian) Garrity, Michael, and John (Mary Ellen). A woman of abiding faith, she was active in the parish life of Our Lady of Victory Church, whose elementary school educated all her children, preparing them for Weber, Gordon Tech, Good Counsel and Resurrection Catholic high schools—and for life. Her multiple volunteerisms and Mothers’ Club memberships alone belied the notion that she was a stay-at-home mom!
As her youngest children gained independence, Marie returned to the out-of-home workforce. Laboring first in the cafeteria of Steinmetz High School, she built a career of more than twenty years with the Chicago Public Schools. She retired as a Teacher’s Aide from LeMoyne Elementary School, where she compassionately and patiently attended to the special needs of students on the autism spectrum.
In retirement, Marie and Mike resided for several years in Niles IL, and finally in the Resurrection Retirement Community of Chicago’s Northwest Side. Marie dedicated much of her time and treasure to the success of Chicago’s Irish American Heritage Center. She relished international travel—to visit dear relatives in Ireland and to pilgrimage to sites of religious significance, such as Fatima, Lourdes and Medugorje. In addition to her Our Lady of Victory worship (where she was the 2003 OLV Sodality Woman of the Year!), she and Mike worshiped as parishioners of St. Juliana Church, from which she humbly and gratefully received her curbside Anointing-of-the-Sick one lovely April afternoon (Thank you, Fr. James!). Marie Lally was her family’s spiritual touchstone, its Most Valuable Prayer!
Marie was the beloved Grandma of twenty: Michael, Charles and Brendan Lally; Tim, Danny (Ellen Ross) and Teresa (Ryan Seymour) Lally; Christopher and Kate Madden; Marie (Jon) Murphy and Thomas (Maggie) Browne; Michael (Megan Lynch) Garrity, Erin (Pat) Walsh, Patsy (Mike) Holmes, Jack Garrity and Nora (Brian) LeVan; Frank and Maura Lally; and of Rory, Maggie and Kevin Lally. She was the doting Great-Grandma of eight: Celia, Maeve and Liam Walsh; Maura and Anna Holmes; Luke and Fiona Murphy; and of Vera LeVan.
In addition to her husband of sixty-nine years, Mike, Marie is survived by darling sisters-in-law Marie Gaffney and Helen (the late Jim) Horn. She was preceded in death by her dear parents, her kind parents-in-law, Thomas and Helen Lally, and sister-in-law Kay (the late Clarence) Viverito, her loving son Dan, and by her sweet siblings: Anna May (the late James) Ahern, Patsy, Daniel (Ann), John Patrick, Mickey (the late Mae) and Jimmy O’Donnell.
Our resilient matriarch was a humble lover of (and defender of) life, who was blessed to see all eight of her children exceed age fifty—a feat of good fortune! Profoundly faithful, Marie bore life’s indignities with grace, and she exulted in life’s rewards with generosity and joy.
Visitation will be held on Friday from 3:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. at Cooney Funeral Home, located at 625 Busse Hwy, Park Ridge IL. Funeral will be Saturday, 10:00 a.m. Mass at Our Lady of Victory Church, 5212 W Agatite Ave, Chicago IL. A livestream of Mass can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGKN-zS2JqsKLGDN5Bakkyw/live For information, please call 847-685-1002 or visit www.cooneyfuneralhome.com.
In lieu of flowers, Marie would have appreciated donations to Misericordia Heart of Mercy at www.misericordia.com, or to Mercy Home for Boys and Girls at www.mercyhome.org.
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