Obituary of Sheila A. McMahon
Sheila McMahon (McNicholas), community activist and former Director of Chelsea Community Connections Coalition, died peacefully in her sleep on Labor Day after a long illness.
Sheila was born in Chatham, NJ in 1941 to Henry P. and Ann McNicholas. A member of Phi Beta Kappa, Sheila graduated from Clark University in 1963 with a degree in Psychology. She married John F. (Jack) McMahon in 1964. Together, they raised five children: Rachel Christopher of Revere MA, (Lawrence Christopher), Peter McMahon of Greenfield MA, Deirdre McMahon of Bala Cynwyd PA, (Jason Mezey), David McMahon of Cambridge MA (Leah Kramer) and Siobhan McMahon of Cambridge MA (Philip Holland).
Sharp-witted and big-hearted, Sheila delighted in her children and grandchildren. A long-time resident of Winthrop MA and more recently of Jamaica Plain MA, Sheila was heavily involved in her community, running multiple non-profit programs for families and children and volunteering widely in Chelsea, East Boston, Winthrop, and Revere. She advocated tirelessly for immigration rights, multicultural awareness, and literacy. She was also handy with power tools and thought most things could be improved with more coffee. She loved to read. Even after she retired and while she was severely ill, she remained active, serving on committees and boards that protect elder rights and working locally in her senior living community to support residents’ independence and quality of life.
A fan of Scrabble, Cheez-Its, and progressive politics, she left the hospital against orders in 2016 to vote for Hillary Clinton. She really wanted to vote in 2020. She worked toward a better world for her grandchildren, Brendan, Erin, Norah, Paul, Danny, Sebastian, and Rosie. She is survived by her husband and family, who will miss her. A memorial service will be held after it is safe to gather, but for now, the family requests that donations be made in her memory to ROCA (101 Park Street Chelsea, MA 02150) or to Chelsea Human Services Collaborative (318 Broadway, Chelsea, MA 02150).