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Frances M. (Tighe) McAvey, “Mrs. Mack”, 99, passed away peacefully at home on Wednesday, October 4, 2023. Born in Worcester on July 7, 1924, she was the eldest child of seven born to Thomas J. Tighe and Marion (Tweedie) Tighe; and remained a life-long resident of Worcester.
How do you put a nearly century of living into a few paragraphs?
Frances graduated from Commerce High School in 1940. Throughout high school she worked in the technical processing department of the Worcester Public Library. After graduation she was employed at Worcester’s Billings Square Branch library until her marriage.
On October 25, 1948, Frances married Donald F. McAvey and they were together for sixty-four years until Donald’s passing in 2012. They had twelve children, two of whom predeceased her: Monica M. McAvey in 2011 and Siubhan (Bonnie) Luperchio-McAvey in 2015. Frances’ family grew to twenty-one grand children and twenty-six great grandchildren.
Frances was a devout Catholic and was a member of Our Lady of Lourdes parish for seventy-five years. Amongst her volunteer work she served as a Eucharistic minister for many years. Numerous charities benefited from her contributions. What is unforgettable is her remarkably strong sense of humor. She could turn a grim event into comedy with a quick remark; when hospitalized in 2008 after a heart attack, she commented, “What a revolting development!”
In addition to raising twelve children, Frances operated Mrs. Mack’s Bakery on Grafton Street with Donald and became the official “Mrs. Mack” upon her mother-in-law’s retirement. Donald and Frances retired in 1985, though they did keep a hand in for many years afterwards. Frances rarely went anywhere, to appointments or visits, without a bakery offering in hand, sometimes to the embarrassment of her children. Her tapioca pudding was legendary and no family occasion was complete without it. Thanksgiving couldn’t start without her cranberry sauce and special occasions required her home-made fudge.
Frances was an avid reader and libraries were her favorite places. Classical music, another passion, was often heard playing from her extensive record collection.
She did like to sew, a talent handed down from her seamstress mother. She also loved catalog shopping and acquiring only the best.
Teaching her grand and great grand children the alphabet and numbers was her joy. The special swing set, however, was very important and every child could use it - when she wasn’t using it herself!
In retirement she took several trips to Kouchibouguac, New Brunswick, Canada, staying in her Tweedie family’s centuries-old stone house. One of her most memorable times was her trip to Ireland in 1995, that she took with her sister Mary and step-sister Barbara, visiting her father’s birthplace.
Frances believed ardently in natural, healthy living, which almost brought her to her goal of living to 100 years. Along with her vitamins and natural remedies, however, a dish of ice cream was considered a daily health requirement, usually with a cookie, most often oatmeal.
Frances lived her life as she wanted it and in her own unique way. Her parting words of advice were love and “Enjoy your life!”
She leaves behind her children: daughters Mora F. McAvey of Worcester, Marion Sheila McAvey of Shrewsbury, Eileen Quintilliani McAvey of Millbury, Grainne A. McAvey of Millbury, Rebecca A. Leovich of West Boylston and Brigid Kate Gore of Millbury and South Carolina; and sons Shawn P. McAvey and wife Carole Jean of North Grafton, Michael McAvey and Donna of Leicester, Murdoch G. McAvey and wife Maritza of Worcester and Martin McAvey and wife Erica of Millbury. She also leaves twenty grandchildren, one having predeceased her, and twenty- six great great-grandchildren.
She leaves behind her brothers Paul Tighe and John (Jack) Tighe and a sister Mary Turcotte. Her sisters Patricia Jones and Helen Sheehan and brother Thomas Tighe predeceased her.
The family wishes to thank the many wonderful people who cared for her, especially in these last few years, with special gratitude to the St. Francis Adult Day Care staff for their loving kindness and for spoiling her with care, including Sumo, whom she “adopted.” And thanks to the nurses and PA’s of Landmark Health and the VNA rehab and hospice nurses.
The McAvey family wishes to add a note of sincere gratitude to our niece Adrienne Patrone for her tremendous help in caring for her grandmother.
A wake will be held on Wednesday, October 11, 2023, and at Athy Memorial Home, 111 Lancaster St., Worcester, from 4pm to 8pm. A funeral Mass will be held at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, 1290 Grafton St., Worcester, on Thursday, October 12, 2023, at 11:30am. Burial will be private at the convenience of the family.
Contributions may be made in her name to a charity of your choice or to your public library.