Margery (Whelan)'s Story

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Margery (Whelan) Campbell, 82, passed away Friday, August 4, 2017, after a long illness that slowed her lungs but never her spirit. Daughter, sister, wife, mom, and nana, each one of these is a small word, but within context of how she defined herself, each was powerful in molding her into the caring, independent joyful woman she became.
She was born and raised in Somerville, Mass. by her parents, Edward and Ruth Whelan, along with her three sisters, Virginia Doherty, Frances Fraser, and Kathleen Cobleigh, all of whom predeceased her. Her quiet strength, unending optimism and love of family began in that home. Although her home was a broken one, the love of her parents for her was unfailing. At a very young age, she learned to cook to help her mother and took a job at a children’s clothing store to help pay the bills.
It was while visiting her mother at her job that Margery met the man who would love her for over 50 years. On April 17, 1955, she married William F. Campbell, also of Somerville, Mass. and they began their journey together. Their love was what we read about, watch in old movies, and hope to obtain for ourselves. It ran deep, and was anchored with respect and friendship. Margery’s loving outgoing nature was a perfect match for her true loves strong presence and quiet displays.
The early days of their marriage, like many at the time were lean in terms of money – but never in terms of love. They had three children together, Stephen, Thomas (Mary Schultz), and Ruth-Anne (Jim Calandra). While salt and pepper were the only spices she seemed to use cooking meals, her kitchen is filled with the memories of home made fudge, lemon cookies, pickle trays, Sunday sauce and during the 1970s, an unfortunate amount of various colored Knox Blox depending on the holiday.
As a mother with young children, she volunteered as room mother in classrooms, was always quick to find something in her closet for a neighbor in need and American Ghoulash was her signature dish whenever a casserole was called for. Margery was a woman who would enter a supermarket for milk and bread and come out with that, plus two new friends.
While she did work “mothers hours” at Market Basket in Salem, N.H. and later as a seasonal employee at the IRS, the job title which she valued most was Nana. Never has a nana loved her grandchildren the way she loved Brittany, Andrew, Ethan, and Dominic Calandra. She was at the hospital when each one came into this world, and she was present for so many of their firsts even when that meant traveling to points far and wide to be there.
In her lifetime, she was not an inventor, captain of industry or decorated hero; but to us she was the glue that held our family together with an ease and grace that will be missed.
Visiting hours will be held Tuesday, August 8, 2017, from 4 to 7 p.m. in the Douglas & Johnson Funeral Home, 214 Main St., Salem. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday in Mary Queen of Peace Church, 200 Lawrence Rd., Salem. Interment will follow in Pine Grove Cemetery, Salem. To send a message of condolence to the family, please view the obituary at www.douglasandjohnson.com.
Published on  August 6, 2017
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