Madden, Spencer’s oldest citizen, passes away at 105

Retired as school principal in 1981

SPENCER — Mary E. Madden, educator and Spencer’s oldest citizen, ended her 105-year journey on Wednesday, April 29, at Overlook Masonic Health Center in Charlton, her residence since 2017.

Mary was born in Spencer on September 18, 1914, in the family home on Grant Street where she lived until declining health prompted her to move to Overlook. She was one of five children of the late William J. Madden and Ellen “Nellie” (Dempsey) Madden. In addition to her parents, Mary was predeceased by her siblings, Andrew, William, Eleanor (Meany) and A. Rita (McCaffrey).

She is survived by her nephews, William J. Madden (Ellen Gillis), of Lake Wylie, SC and Michael Madden (Linda Krese), of Edmonds, Wash. Additional survivors include her great-nephews, Raymond Madden (Dr. Stacey Madden), of Winter Park, Fla., and Connor Madden, of Washington, D.C., her great-great nieces, Darby and Kolbe Madden, both of Winter Park, Fla. Mary also leaves behind her special friends, Rose and Andrew Cassavant, Susan Jorritsma, Liz and Jesse Knott, Paul and Nancy LaVallee, Judie Leone, and Sheila Noble.

Mary attended Spencer public schools, graduating from David Prouty High in 1931. She then went on to obtain her teaching degree at what is now Worcester State University, graduating in 1934. After college, she taught for a brief time in the Auburn school system, before returning to Spencer in 1935 to begin her 46-year long career as an educator there. Mary taught at Pleasant Street school from 1935 until 1947, when she moved to West Main Street school as teacher/principal, a position she held until 1966. During that period, Mary also found time to return to Worcester State, where she earned a Master’s Degree in Education in 1959. Mary’s final assignment was at Lake Street school in Spencer, where she served as principal from 1966 until her retirement in 1981.

Following her retirement, Mary continued her commitment to the children of Spencer, first as a volunteer at Pleasant Street school and, following the closing of that facility in 1997, at Lake Street school, where she tutored and mentored countless students, many of whom remember her fondly to this day. Mary also devoted time during these years to other pursuits including the Spencer Garden Club, the Richard Sugden library, and especially her passion for creating intricate and beautifully hand-crafted quilts, which won her numerous awards at fairs and exhibitions statewide. Mary celebrated reaching the age of 99 with a hot-air balloon ride, was presented with the Boston Post cane recognizing her status as Spencer’s oldest resident, and from then until her death she especially enjoyed her annual appearance as Grand Marshall of the Christmas Parade.

The family would like to thank the Skilled Nursing Facility staff at Overlook…especially Dave Auger, Pat Hoffman, Janice Gauthier, Kristin Reed and Melissa Totaro…for their exceptional level of care, and more importantly for the kindness and affection they all displayed toward Mary during her time there.

There will be no public services at this time, for obvious reasons. When circumstances permit, a memorial for Mary will be scheduled at a future date, and details to be published in advance.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a donation in Mary’s name to the Friends of the Richard Sugden Library, 8 Pleasant St., Spencer, MA 01562 or another other charity of your choice.

J. Henri Morin & Son Funeral Homes, 23 Maple Terr., Spencer, is assisting the family with arrangements.

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