By Lisa E. Crowley
BROCKTON—Family and friends of Mary Cruise Kennedy, the matriarch of Brockton’s Cruise-Kennedy clan, gathered Saturday to not only mourn the loss of the 101-year-old former head nurse, but also celebrate the life of a woman who was ahead of her time.
“She had such a great life,” said Ward 1 City Councilor Timothy Cruise, Mary Kennedy’s nephew. “She was blessed,” he said.
Cruise said in a recent interview that while family members were saddened by the news Mary died peacefully of pneumonia Saturday, Nov. 26 at Brockton Hospital where she graduated from the hospital’s nursing school in 1931.
Mary Cruise Kennedy was the eldest of 9 children who led the family when the children's parents died young.
During a brief time when she worked at the former Lakeville State Hospital, she met her husband Bob, and had four children of her own, including State Senator Thomas Kennedy.
Tim Cruise said while Mary’s passing is sad, he said hundreds of family members were expected to converge on Russell & Pica Funeral Home last Thursday and Friday for calling hours, followed by services at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Brockton.
“It’s a celebration, a celebration of a great lady,” Cruise said. “She had a great run. She was the glue that kept things together. We’ll miss her,” he said.
Tim Cruise said the 40 or so first cousins who were expected to attend last week’s services held a lot of respect for his aunt, and many children in the family didn’t dare cause trouble while Mary Cruise Kennedy was around.
“Just a look was enough,” Tim Cruise said.
Cruise Kennedy was also a woman ahead of her time in the medical field.
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