The Honorable Mary M. (Murphy) Brennan, Esq., First Justice of Charlestown District Court and a lifelong resident of Charlestown, died on Sunday, April 10, 2011 at Woburn Nursing Center in Woburn following an extended illness. She was 91.
Brennan was born in Boston on Dec. 13, 1919 to Irish immigrant parents Cornelius and Julia (Hayes) Murphy. Mary grew up in Charlestown and was educated in the Boston Public School system, graduated from Girls High School in 1937.
She served her country as a lieutenant in the United States Navy during World War II.
After receiving her degree from Regis College, Brennan went on to earn degrees from Radcliffe College, Harvard College and Boston College Law School, passing the Massachusetts Bar Exam in 1954 at a time when less than 10 percent of those taking the exam did so successfully.
She began her legal career in private practice, assisting many local residents with the legal process. In 1966, she joined the US Attorney's Office, eventually heading up the Bankruptcy Division. She remained there until her appointment to the bench by Gov. Edward King in 1980. It was shortly thereafter that she was appointed as the first woman Presiding Justice of the Charlestown District Court. She etired from the bench in 1989.
Brennan was involved in local and state politics. She actively supported candidates from City Council to U.S. Senate, campaigning for several gubernatorial and mayoral candidates.
She also contributed to many community organizations and initiatives, including the Federation of Charlestown Organizations for which she served as secretary. She volunteered her time and talents as a member of American Legion Post #26 of Charlestown, the Massachusetts Judges Conference, and as Judge Advocate for the Battle of Bunker Hill Parade. She particularly enjoyed judging the American Legion oratorical contests, marveling at the knowledge, skill and poise of local high school candidates.
Brennan was the beloved wife of the late Henry T. "Buddy" Brennan. She was the mother of Judith M. Brennan and her husband Daniel King of Charlestown and Mary P. Brennan and her husband John Caldwell of Charlestown. She was the loving Nana to Meghan and Kevin King, Erin, John and Julia Caldwell. She was the beloved sister of the late Julia Lent, Eileen Kinsella and Cornelius Murphy Jr. She is also survived by many nieces and nephews.
Relatives and friends are attended Mary's Funeral on Thursday from The Carr Funeral Home. She was interred at Calvary Cemetery in Boston.
In lieu of flowers, make a memorial donation in Brennan's name to the Michael P. Quinn Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 290216, Charlestown, MA 02129.
To send a condolence message visit www.carrfuneral.com .