This Obituary Will Make You Smile

Jim Daly

There’s something beautiful about a life well-lived. When someone consistently lives out their values in a million (sometimes quiet) ways, others notice – and are blessed by the legacy.

That’s the case with Mary Agnes Mullaney, a wife, mother and grandmother who recently passed away at age 85. The family she left behind honored her memory with an obituary filled with life lessons that gave colorful and heartwarming glimpses into Mullaney’s person and character.

“Pink,” as she was called, was the type of person who lived for others. She noticed and reached out to those some might consider “lowly” – the homeless, the mentally challenged and the elderly. She lived out her faith and deliberately saw the best in others. She lived a life of love.

Her children and grandchildren took note. When it came time to write the obituary, her daughter Maryanne Mullaney explained the family asked themselves, “How can we… carry her ‘Pinkness’ across?”

I never had the pleasure of meeting Mrs. Mullaney, but I can’t help but think her family did a good job. I leave you with an excerpt from this lovingly penned obituary that I think will make you smile and inspire you.

If you’re about to throw away an old pair of pantyhose, stop. Consider: Mary Agnes Mullaney (you probably knew her as “Pink”) who entered eternal life on Sunday, September 1, 2013. Her spirit is carried on by her six children, 17 grandchildren, three surviving siblings in New “Joisey”, and an extended family of relations and friends from every walk of life. We were blessed to learn many valuable lessons from Pink during her 85 years, among them: Never throw away old pantyhose. Use the old ones to tie gutters, child-proof cabinets, tie toilet flappers, or hang Christmas ornaments.

The obituary also highlighted the following lessons modeled by “Pink” …

Invite new friends to Thanksgiving dinner. If they are from another country and you have trouble understanding them, learn to "listen with an accent."

Never say mean things about anybody; they are "poor souls to pray for."

Put picky-eating children in the box at the bottom of the laundry chute, tell them they are hungry lions in a cage, and feed them veggies through the slats.

Correspond with the imprisoned and have lunch with the cognitively challenged. Do the Jumble every morning.

Keep the car keys under the front seat so they don't get lost.

Make the car dance by lightly tapping the brakes to the beat of songs on the radio.

Offer rides to people carrying a big load or caught in the rain or summer heat. Believe the hitchhiker you pick up who says he is a landscaper and his name is "Peat Moss."

Help anyone struggling to get their kids into a car or shopping cart or across a parking lot.

Give to every charity that asks. Choose to believe the best about what they do with your money, no matter what your children say they discovered online.

Allow the homeless to keep warm in your car while you are at Mass.

Take magazines you've already read to your doctors' office for others to enjoy. Do not tear off the mailing label, "Because if someone wants to contact me, that would be nice."

In her lifetime, Pink made contact time after time. Those who've taken her lessons to heart will continue to ensure that a cold drink will be left for the overheated garbage collector and mail carrier, every baby will be kissed, every nursing home resident will be visited, the hungry will have a sandwich, the guest will have a warm bed and soft nightlight…

You can watch a local news story on Mullaney online. Read the complete obituary here.

Photos courtesy of news station WAOW. Used with permission.

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