A woman for all time

The reason 93-year-old Mary McGinn has stayed in Swampscott for so many years can be summed up in one word: pride.

Although McGinn was born in New York, she has spent the majority of her life in Massachusetts. She has lived in her current home in Swampscott for nearly 70 years. 

“The town has been very good to my family,” said McGinn. “I married my high-school sweetheart, (Lawrence McGinn), and we moved into this one house and we are still here now.”

“Larry,” as Mary calls him, was the class president and co-captain of the football team at Swampscott High School in 1946. Mary was a class officer at the town’s high school in 1945 and was on the cheerleading team from 1943-46. 

With such a lengthy tenure in Swampscott, McGinn and her family have become fixtures in the community. Her six children attended schools in Swampscott and her husband helped with the town’s athletic programs. Mary served on the town’s Finance Committee for 18 years. 

The McGinns can often be found at St. John the Evangelist Church on Sundays. Mary also helps to coordinate weddings at the church; she estimates that she has worked nearly 500 of them.  

“I started this program and I worked weddings for 14 years and I loved it,” she said. “I met all sorts of people from all areas of Swampscott or anybody that attended St. John’s church. I really had a ball doing that.”

McGinn says that much of her life has revolved around the church. She was a eucharistic prayer service minister and eucharistic ministers program administrator at the church for many years. She has also served as a pastoral council member. In 2014, she was a recipient of the Boston Archdiocesan Cheverus Medal for Service. 

One of McGinn’s daughters, Erin, said that her mother has been able to make long-lasting friendships in the town because she is a forgiving person; she generously extends second chances, silently and without leverage.

“(She is) the best person most folks will ever know,” Erin said.