Justin D. McRae

February 2, 2020

Justin D. McRae

Justin D. McRae – a lifelong resident of Woburn, died unexpectedly on February 2nd, at twenty – one years of age. Beloved son of Christopher B. and Maureen A. (Gillis) McRae. Cherished brother of Ryan M. McRae, his fiancé Theresa Girardi of Winchester, Lauren E. McRae of Medford and James McRae of Woburn. Dearest grandson of the late Bradley and Anne Gillis, and Arthur and Carol McRae. Adored nephew of Alex McRae of Reading, Stephen McRae of PA, Douglas McRae of CA, Kevin Gillis of Chelmsford, Joanne Whittaker of Haverhill and Brian Gillis, and the late Shawn J. Gillis of Woburn, as well as all of their families. Loving cousin of Aidan, Sean, Matthew, Kyle, Ronan, Loudon, Charlie, Greg and Brian. Also survived by many friends. A Funeral will be held in the Lynch-Cantillon Funeral Home, 263 Main Street, Woburn on Friday morning at 11:30 a.m. All are invited to attend. Burial will take place at the convenience of the family. Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to Calling Hours; Thursday evening, 4-8 p.m. As an expression of sympathy, donations may be made in Justin’s memory to The Family Restored, 17 Bishop Street, Suite 202, Portland, ME 04103 or to Rockland Recovery 92 Melville Ave., Boston, MA 02124.

 

Justin Donald McRae – a lifelong resident of Woburn, died unexpectedly, February 2nd, fighting his battle with addiction and mental illness. He was twenty-one years young. 

Born in Boston, Justin was the beloved son of Christopher B. and Maureen A. (Gillis) McRae. He graduated from Woburn Memorial High School in 2016 and attended classes at UMass Lowell.  Justin was an avid sports fan. Growing up he played and excelled at many sports, including football, basketball, soccer, and baseball.  His main passion was football, where he was a three-year starter on the Woburn Varsity Football team.  He served as a Team Captain his senior year, where his teammates looked up to him as a great leader, and his coaches loved him.  He was a hard worker and his dedication was shown on and off the field.

Justin had an entrepreneurial spirit and started his own car detailing business called “Mobile Magic.” Justin loved staying up to date with current events, especially politics. He was a deep thinker, enjoyed philosophy, and loved writing. He had a heart of gold and was always the first person to help someone in need. 

Justin loved music of all kinds and was very talented at playing guitar.  Justin enjoyed playing guitar for his family and friends, especially during his final months; he also spent time teaching friends how to play the guitar.  He often acted as the “DJ” at family parties and on car rides.

During his time at Pine Tree Recovery in Portland, ME, Springhill Recovery in Ashby, MA, and Rockland Recovery in Dorchester, MA, Justin’s empathy and kind heart impacted the lives of so many others also in recovery. He was described by his peers and clinicians as intelligent, thoughtful, funny, and loving. At Springhill Recovery and Rockland Recovery, he took on leadership roles, led group meetings, and shared his experiences with others, empowering other people alongside him in recovery. Justin was loved by so many, even when it was hard for him to love himself.

Along with his parents, Maureen and Chris, Justin is survived and will be deeply missed by his siblings, Ryan M. McRae and his fiancé Theresa Girardi of Winchester, Lauren E. McRae of Medford, and James McRae of Woburn. Dearest grandson of the late Bradley and Anne Gillis, and Arthur and Carol McRae. Adored nephew of Alex McRae of Reading, Stephen McRae of PA, Douglas McRae of CA, Kevin Gillis of Chelmsford, Joanne Whittaker of Haverhill and Brian Gillis, and the late Shawn J. Gillis of Woburn, as well as all of their families. Loving cousin of Aidan, Sean, Matthew, Kyle, Ronan, Loudon, Charlie, Greg, and Brian. Also survived by a great many friends. 

A Funeral will be held in the Lynch-Cantillon Funeral Home, 263 Main Street, Woburn on Friday morning at 11:30 a.m.  All are invited to attend.  Burial will take place at the convenience of the family.  Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to Calling Hours; Thursday evening, 4-8 p.m. As an expression of sympathy, donations may be made in Justin’s memory to The Family Restored, 17 Bishop Street, Suite 202, Portland, ME 04103 or to Rockland Recovery 92 Melville Ave., Boston, MA 02124

A Funeral will be held in the Lynch-Cantillon Funeral Home, 263 Main Street, Woburn on Friday morning at 11:30 a.m. All are invited to attend. Burial will take place at the convenience of the family. Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to Calling Hours; Thursday evening, 4-8 p.m. As an expression of sympathy, donations may be made in Justin’s memory to The Family Restored, 17 Bishop Street, Suite 202, Portland, ME 04103 or to Rockland Recovery 92 Melville Ave., Boston, MA 02124.

 

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  1. My thoughts and prayers go out to Justin’s family and friends. I had only spent a few weeks with Justin at Spring Hill and came to like him immediately. I enjoyed crossing paths with him, especially when he was playing his guitar. Justin brought some much needed light to what cam be a gloomy experience. For that, and for his part in my life, I will always be grateful.

    Shawn

  2. Edward Campanile

    I am so sorry for your loss. Though I did not know Justin, my son did and says he was a kind hearted young man whi went out if his way to say hello. May God bless you with peace in this tough time.

  3. Bridin & Bartley.... Inishmaan Aran Islands, Co. Galway

    So sorry for ye loss…thinking of ye… may Justin rest in peace

  4. Death sucks: there’s no need to sugarcoat that truism. When we lose someone we love, a hole forms in our hearts and our lives. It’s easy to exist in a constant state of pain and sadness. I’ve found that occasionally dwelling in the darkness, although unavoidable, is not the only course. By remembering the good times, I’ve been able to cope with several personal losses; so I want to talk a bit about this. I’m writing to tell you the story of Justin McRae in my life.

    He was a very good student. To say he was pensive and intelligent is an understatement. Although he didn’t constantly verbalize what he was thinking, his ability to analyze, dissect, and discuss various facets of our world was without question. From George Carlin’s hilarious evisceration of idiotic parts of American life to Christopher Hitchens’s absolute vitriol towards dictatorial actions, Justin had a firm grasp of the “big ideas” beyond the classroom. Justin’s journal—full of not only responses to my chosen prompts, quotes, and sentence starters, but also his own “free writes—is proof of this.

    He was also an excellent person. Following his time in my sophomore honors English course, we were always chatting informally in the halls of Woburn High. Courteous and amicable, he would always check in briefly about the stuff going on, both academic and personal. After he graduated, we would occasionally talk via social media, usually to exchange pleasantries and “happy birthday” wishes. When I found out he was having trouble, I made sure I reached out to see how he was doing and to offer advice. The last time we chatted, he assured me he was in a positive place and that he felt good. Admittedly, we hadn’t spoken in months when I received news of his passing. Going back over the conversations we had following his graduation, I felt upset with myself for not having checked in recently. In my opinion, one of the most painful questions in the English language is, “what if?”

    I’m a man of words, but I admit there’s always someone else who’s said “it” better. Augusten Burroughs, one of my favorite writers, offered the following assertion in his opus This Is How:

    “It may seem to you that your life is over now. Your future without the person you love is no future at all. Death is a head-on collision with your plans. But everything in life–the gold fillings of your teeth, the cotton of your sheets, the air you breathe, all the food you will ever eat–everything there is was born from a collision. Inside every single thing that lives is a debt to a distant star that died. Nothing new is ever created without one thing colliding into another. And something new is created when the person you love dies. Because they are not the only ones who die: you die, too. The person you were when you were with them is gone just as surely as they are. This is what you should know about losing somebody you love. They do not travel alone. You go with them.”

    As we all grieve together before beginning our personal journeys toward healing, I think it paramount that we try to remember the great memories we have of Justin. We are a sum of our experiences; thus, his presence played a part of who we all are. As you struggle to cope and heal, try to remember that his importance in our lives still exists. Try to avoid throwing yourself on the rack by asking yourself that most painful question and, instead, remind yourself of the happiness being a part of his life brought to him and to each of you, too. As we remember Justin, try also to focus on and remember the good times we all had.

    I am, always, with you in this,
    Matthew J. Gangi

  5. Dear Chris and Maureen,
    I’m so sorry for your loss of Jason. You are an amazing and beautiful family and it is so devastating. I will keep you all in my heart and prayers.
    My deepest condolences.
    Nancy ( Stoneham family meeting)

  6. Justin helped me when I needed a friend the most and was always there when I called. I’ll never forget Justin’s kindness and smile. My condolences to your family.

  7. I am so saddened for your families tragic loss of your beautiful son.

    Now your forever Angel.

    We all feel your loss deeply as a family also a part of the recovery community.

    Prayers to your family during this difficult time.🙏

  8. So sad to hear this . Your family to us from the meetings . Our deepest condolences Lenny and Donna Spallone

  9. Heartbroken for all of your family. We all feel your loss as parents and as part of the recovery community. xoxoxo

  10. Patrick Allison

    I am so sorry to all family and friends of Justin for this tragic loss. He was the one who brought a smile into every room. Rest In Paradise, my friend.
    Best Regards,
    -Pat

  11. Suzy & Greg Layman

    Dear Maureen, Chris & Family,

    Would like to express our deepest sympathy, may God Bless you all during this difficult time. Sending love and prayers.

  12. Maureen and family,

    I am so sorry for your loss. There is nothing I can do or say to change things. My thoughts and prayers are with you at this time.

    Dawn Donlon

  13. Maryellen Childs Vega

    Chris and Maureen I’m deeply saddened by your loss. May Justin always be your angel.

  14. I have such fond memories of you and your family when I worked at the Clapp School. Could always count on your family, especially your mom, when we needed anything or help at the school. I’ll never forget you kiddo. Rest in heavenly peace.

    Love,
    Mrs. Tierno or “Ms. Debi”

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