Mary Elizabeth Gertrude Layden, age 100, died peacefully at home of natural causes on January 3rd. She was executive secretary at Norton Abrasives for over 45 years. A Shrewsbury resident for over 90 years, Mary graduated from Howard W. Beal High School, where she was the town’s first member of the National Honor Society. Mary was the oldest lifelong member of her beloved St. Mary's Catholic Church in Shrewsbury, where she was an active participant and highly respected by the clergy and parishioners. She was recently named the honorary chairperson of St Mary’s Centennial Committee. She and the Layden family were honored this past fall during her 100th birthday celebration held by the Friends of Prospect Park, formally the Whittall Mansion, where she was born to her Irish immigrant parents who were working there in service. Mary was a treasured family member to many generations of the Layden family and during various times in her life provided care for her mother and father, as well as her brothers when her mother was away as a practical nurse. Her kindness, good humor, and wisdom will be missed by multiple generations of her family. An active woman her entire life, Mary enjoyed many valued friendships, outdoor sports, and world travel. She was a valued member of the Shrewsbury community including the Shrewsbury Senior Center, Shrewsbury Business Woman’s Group, lifelong member of the Shrewsbury Historical Society, and Shrewsbury High School Class of 1938 (Class Secretary). Mary spent her last days visiting her family and friends via video chat and a ladder outside her window. Her last wonderful years of life were made possible by the love and care of her niece, Kathy Blumenthal.
Mary is survived by her six nieces and nephews: Kathy Blumenthal of Boylston, MA, Alan Layden and his wife Marlene Layden of Brentwood, California, Frederick Layden and his wife, Cathy Layden of Fremont, CA, William Layden and his wife, Pamela Layden of San Antonio, TX, Maureen Layden, and her husband, John Loughnane, of West Roxbury, MA and Donald Gentile, and his partner James Dean of Brookfield, MA. She is preceded in death by her mother, Elizabeth Fogarty Layden, her father, Joseph Layden, and her brothers Frederick Layden, his wife Lucille Timbers Layden and Joseph Layden, his wife Doris King Layden, her niece Maribeth Gentile, nephew Larry Layden, and great-grand niece Emily McPhee. She also leaves grand nieces, Jennifer Gentile, her husband Matt Fickie, Erika McPhee, her husband James McPhee, Tracy Layden, and grandnephews Simon Blumenthal, Tim Layden and his wife Jennifer Swarr, Christopher Layden and his partner Becca Jo, Thomas Layden, Jonathan Layden, Michael Gentile, Jeffery Gentile his wife Erica Stanley Gentile, great grand-nieces and nephews Lucy, Charlie, Lilly and Calvin Fickie; Evan, Finnegan, Evelyn, Aidan, and Benjamin McPhee, Amelia, Jared, Sofia Gentile, and Cyrus Layden. She also leaves her beloved cat, Harry Potter.
A memorial service including Catholic Mass at St. Mary’s will be held at a later date. Donations can be made to St. Mary’s Church Centennial Fund, 20 Summer Street, Shrewsbury, MA 01545.