Rosemary McMahon Print E-mail

Rosemary (Keefe) McMahon, R.N.

Beloved mother and sister;

Rosemary (Keefe) McMahon R.N. of Lowell, MA., daughter of the late John J. Keefe and Rose (Ficco) Keefe, passed peacefully on August, 20, 2020, at the Age of 88.

Beloved wife of the late Robert McCoy McMahon, devoted mother of Bob and his wife Jennifer Prizer McMahon of Charlestown and Martha’s Vineyard, MA, Rosemary is survived by brothers Robert, Raymond and Francis Keefe, and dozens of nieces and nephews from her 7 brothers, including deceased brothers John, William, Thomas and Joseph Keefe.

Rosemary was retired from the Lowell School Department after many years

in corporate nursing at Raytheon and Mass Electric, and after working for Lowell Visiting Nurses. “Rosie,” as her friends and family called her, counted many life-long friends who took this journey of life with her until the very end.

Often the life of the party, Rosie enjoyed listening and singing along with friends to the music of Barbara Streisand, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Tom Jones and lots of Broadway and Christmas tunes. On many Thanksgivings, Rosie and family welcomed Lowell’s own Ed McMahon to town, to celebrate the holiday with family, alongside Ed’s beloved aunt, Mary Brennan, who also helped to raise Rosie’s son, Bob.

Rosie’s personal story is one of strength and resilience.

Married to her husband, Bob, in 1957, a mere two years later she found herself alone with her 13 month old son, called Roby at that time, now Bob, when her husband passed away due to the polio outbreak in Lowell in August of 1959. Her husband got sick on a Friday, was placed in an iron lung the next day, and died the following Monday morning. In that single weekend life changed most dramatically for her. With little money left after her husband’s funeral, Rosie buckled down and moved forward as best she could to craft a comfortable life for her son.

Life would soon test Rosie’s strength again. When her son was under ten years of age, Rosie was diagnosed with Lobar pneumonia and confined to hospital for three months. It looked very much like Rosie wouldn’t make it to those supervising her care. But she never gave up, came home, quit smoking completely and never looked back, enjoying a long career in nursing.

Rosie loved being a nurse. While at Raytheon, a co-worker suffered a life-threatening heart attack and was saved by Rosie’s quick action. A similar event happened at Mass Electric and one can only imagine how grateful those families were that Rosie was there for them, a nurse, doing what nurses do for people they’ve never met. Something we all can surely relate to today, as we navigate Covid-19 and witness the strength and resilience of our front line nurses, doctors and so many other essential workers from all walks of life.

About 8 years ago Rosie developed Alzheimer’s and was admitted first to Bayberry at Emerald Court, an assisted living facility, and then moved to D’Youville Life and Wellness Community. As Rosie entered Bayberry they thought she had about 18 months to live, considering the quickly developing onslaught of her Alzheimer’s. But once again she put up the good fight for 7 more years, aided by the wonderful care she received at D’Youville in Lowell.

A private celebration of Rosie’s life took place on Tuesday August 25th at St Patrick’s Cemetery in Lowell. E-condolences at In lieu of flowers, a donation to fund Alzheimer’s research would be much appreciated by Rosie’s family and all who continue to fight with this horrible disease. Arrangements by the O’DONNELL FUNERAL HOME – LOWELL, MA (978) 458-8768.

Condolences (2)
  • Dave & Judy Sullivan  - To The Keefe and McMahon Families
    Dave and I send along our most heartfelt sympathy on the loss of Rosie. Through our Mary we had a long term relationship with her. We loved her. We do indeed agree that she was often the life of the party and we did our best to help her out with that. Our prayers to all of you. With Love and Sympathy, Dave & Judy Sullivan
  • Kathleen Ralls
    I'm sorry to hear of your loss. It sounds like she was a fascinating woman! My father, Tom Ralls, was a friend of Rosemary's at Mass. Electric. He often helped her with house projects when she needed assistance.
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