Cover photo for Mary Helen Kennedy's Obituary
Mary Helen Kennedy Profile Photo

Mary Helen Kennedy

December 22, 1940 — May 17, 2021

Mary Helen Kennedy, of Gaithersburg, Maryland, died on May 17, 2021, in Westminster, Maryland at the age of 80, from complications related to stroke and vascular dementia. Mary is survived by her four children, Hon. Christopher M. Kennedy (Lisa Sanders) of Libertyville, IL, Michael O. Kennedy (Jody Edwards), of River Vale, NJ, Patricia A. Kennedy of Beaverton, OR, and Susan E. Nusraty (Nas Nusraty) of New Market, MD, as well as her ten grandchildren: Conor, Shea, Eleanor, Leo, Molly, Emma, Liam, Devin, Rowan and Gavin. She is preceded in death by her husband of 55 years, Christopher J. Kennedy, and her brothers, Joseph Kennedy, of Mount Vernon, NY, and Matthew Kennedy, of Bronx, NY. Mary was born on December 22, 1940, in the Bronx, New York, to Matthew J. Kennedy and Mary W. McPike. She graduated from St. Helena High School (now Monsignor Scanlan) in 1958 and went on to earn a B.S. in Biology from Hunter College, City University of New York, and a M.S. in Biomedical Science from Rutgers University. While in high school, a coincidence of last names led to her introduction to Christopher J. Kennedy; they fell in love and married on January 23, 1965. They lived in the Bronx until moving to Sugar Loaf, NY in 1972. They later moved to Libertyville, IL in 1989, then to Gaithersburg, MD in 1996. A valedictorian in high school and college Phi Beta Kappa honoree, Mary was a star student. She was the first person in her family to attend college, which she was able to do only because of scholarships. Mary used her masters degree to do biomedical research at Montefiore Hospital, teach nurses and medical students at Mount Sinai, and teach at Pearl River High School, City University of New York, and Pace University. She later served as school board president in Warwick, NY. She left the workforce to raise her growing family, returning to begin a new career at age 42 with Abbott Laboratories, where she would work for the next 20 years. Her career took off, rising from sales rep to district manager to national head of sales training to become the first female Regional Manager in company history, winning every award along the way. She was the first woman in her most senior positions, but she made sure she was not the only woman to rise through the ranks; by the time she retired, more than half the workforce in her division were women. She was a vocal leader in promoting diversity and helped mentor many colleagues inside and outside of Abbott PPD (now Abbvie). Mary was a 32-year survivor of stage 4 breast cancer and lifelong diabetic who still had the energy to raise four kids and pioneer in her career. Everyone who knew Mary knew her inimitable energy and determination, her unsurpassed work ethic, and her fierce and loving devotion to her family. Her greatest joy was spending time with her four kids and ten grandchildren. Whether you knew her as Mom, Aunt Mary, Grandmary or colleague, you felt her love, her fearlessness, and her commitment to making things better. A ceremony to honor Mary's life will be held when conditions permit. Funeral arrangements are under the care of Flynn Funeral & Cremation Memorial Centers, Inc., once the Mass and Interment at Gate of Heaven Cemetery are confirmed the dates of times of each event will be place on our website.

Service
Location: Gates of Heaven Cemetery
Address: 10+W+Stevens+Avenue Hawthorne NY+10532
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Notes: Once confirmed the dates of Mass and Interment will be listed on our website.

Interment
Location: Gate of Heaven Cemetery, Mount Pleasant, New York
Address: Gate of Heaven Cemetery
Mount Pleasant,New York

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