William B. ‘Bill’ McElhiney

July 25, 2016

William B. ‘Bill’ McElhiney

WILLIAM B. “BILL” McELHINEY in Woburn, July 25th. Beloved husband of the late Mary Jane (Sullivan) McElhiney. Devoted father of Dianne M. Stefanini, her husband Dr. Alan Stefanini of Greenfield, Donna J. Lee, her husband Robert of ME and FL, William B. McElhiney II, his wife Janet of Reading and James McElhiney, his wife Louisa Bertman of Cambridge. Dear brother of Mary C. Brown of Woburn and the late Leo,Joseph,James McElhiney, Patricia Reil and Dorothy Sweeney. Loving Grandfather of Patrick, Daniel, Madeline, Meredith, Alex, Rebecca, Brendan, William III, Kathleen, Kiva and Rayna and great-grandfather of Yusef, Mary Jane, Charles, Andrew, Thomas and Sophie. A Funeral will be held from the Lynch-Cantillon Funeral Home, 263 Main Street, Woburn, Friday, July 29 at 8:45 a.m. followed by a Funeral Mass in St. Anthony’s Church, 851 Main Street, Woburn, at 10 a.m. Relatives and friends are cordially invited to calling hours Thursday, July 28 3-7 p.m.

OBITUARY:

William B. “Bill” McElhiney passed away at his home surrounded by his children and their families, on Monday, July twenty-fifth. The beloved husband of the late Mary Jane (Sullivan) McElhiney, he was ninety one years old.

Born in Woburn in 1925, he was the fifth of seven children of the late James and Winifred (Maguire) McElhiney. Raised and educated in the South End of the city, Bill was a graduate of Woburn High School, Class of 1942. Following high school Bill attempted on three different occasions to enlist with the United States military, but was sadly unable to pass the physical due to a chronic ear condition. Deeply disappointed, Bill chose to help the war effort by joining the the Civilian Conservation Corps, and worked at Douglas State Forest shoulder to shoulder with the other participants, making their contribution to both family and country during wartime. After the war Bill spent time working on the heating and refrigeration systems at the original Boston Garden, climbing across the “cat walks” throughout the Garden putting everything in place over a couple of years.

While serving as a groomsman at the wedding of a friend, he saw by surprise Mary Jane Sullivan, who was one of the bridesmaids. She was actually a childhood friend from the same neighborhood in the South End. Well, they began dating and in 1952 they married and for the next sixty years they traveled this journey together.

Several months prior to their marriage Bill purchased a home in Central Square and they lived their whole lives on Pilgrim Road. Actually he had just bought a new car and immediately turned around and sold it for the down payment! For Bill there was no better place on earth than his beloved home.

The McElhineys were blessed with four children to whom they were devoted. Each year the family traveled to Peekskill, New York where they had a cottage on a lake. Bill organized day trips to Bear Mountain and West Point; to the Roosevelt home and the Vanderbilt Mansion in Hyde Park; and to the United Nations and Radio City Music Hall and other points of interest in New York City. Each day was both educational and fun for the family. At home Bill organized trips to Wyman’s Beach with friends and neighbors and the family also enjoyed Hampton Beach and most especially Wells Beach with all the Sullivans. Very enjoyable and fun times! Bill was always active in whatever his children were active in, especially in their school and religious lives. He took them to the Woburn Public Library weekly, so that they would all share in being exposed to the fun and value of books.

After the children had grown and finished college, it was now time for Bill and Mary Jane to see the world, and they did! Their first destination was Ireland, where the highlight for Bill was traveling to his father’s home in Carndonagh, Donegal. He visited with local folks who knew his father – or his father’s reputation – and was filled up with family history. Later he and Mary Jane went to Puerto Rico and took many cruises, to Bermuda, the islands in the Caribbean, the Panama Canal, and Alaska. They had many trips New York City and to a favorite spot twice a year, Las Vegas. In both New York and Las Vegas they really enjoyed taking in all the different shows and they were known to socialize and dance the night away, which they so enjoyed. Everywhere Bill and Mary Jane went, they made new friends.

A very hardworking, decent, and honorable man, Bill shared a great love of family throughout his lifetime. He loved being with people and he also shared a wonderful love of nature and the outdoors. Bill was always proud of being from Woburn and thought there really wasn’t any other place in the world that could compare. After he had retired from his quality control of medical devices profession, he filled his time with always doing for others. He volunteered in the school system, assisting to teach the children who were learning English as a second language; he gave his time at the Veteran’s office when the new memorial plaque was being built for Woburn Square, helping to ensure the accuracy and thoroughness of veterans’ names and dates; and he became a member of the Board of the Woburn Public Library. Bill was a very creative writer and throughout his lifetime was often approached to do a poem, “ditty” or farewell speech for all sorts of different occasions.

Bill was truly a religious man having great faith, a true lover of family and friends, and always a gentleman of simple but strong moral principles. He took great interest in the lives of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

In addition to his parents Bill was also predeceased by his dear wife Mary Jane and siblings Leo, Joseph, and James McElhiney, Patricia Reil, and Dorothy Sweeney.

Bill was the devoted father of Dianne M. Stefanini, her husband Dr. Alan Stefanini of Greenfield, Donna J. Lee, her husband Robert of ME and FL, William B. McElhiney II, his wife Janet of Reading, and James McElhiney, his wife Louisa Bertman of Cambridge. Dear brother of Mary C. Brown of Woburn. Loving Grandfather of Patrick, Daniel, Madeleine, Meredith, Alex, Rebecca, Brendan, William III, Kathleen, Kiva, and Rayna and great-grandfather of Yusef, Mary Jane, Charles, Andrew, Thomas, and Sophie. A Funeral will be held from the Lynch-Cantillon Funeral Home, 263 Main Street, Woburn, Friday, July 29 at 8:45 a.m. followed by a Funeral Mass in St. Anthony’s Church, 851 Main Street, Woburn, at 10 a.m. Relatives and friends are cordially invited to calling hours Thursday, July 28th, 3-7 p.m. Please, at Bill’s request he would prefer rather than flowers, if you would remember him by choosing to do an act of kindness for someone, his legacy will live on.

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  1. Mary and family,

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you all. The ones we ove are never gone but live within our hearts. May you know peace and comfort. God bless.

    Charlie & Sandy Culhane

  2. Laura Salamone

    Sorry to hear about the passing of Bill, he was a very kind man, and I enjoyed talking to him. He will be missed R.I.P. Bill

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