RIP, Rosaline (Blaney) McKenzie

30Aug10

RIP: Rosaline (Blaney) McKenzie 1920-2010On Saturday, August 28, 2010, we interred the ashes of my aunt, Rosaline (Blaney) McKenzie with her mother Rosetta Blaney and younger sister, Margaret Blaney, in the Blaney plot at New Calvary Cemetery in Boston.

Aunt Rosaline died earlier this year, months short of her 90th birthday. She was my mother’s older sister and the last surviving sibling among her three sisters (Anne, Rita and Margaret) and one brother (Henry “Bud” Blaney).
Blaney FamilyBlaney FamilyRosaline and Rita Blaney, 1930s
She was the aunt of Janice Violette, Mark and Robert Sardella, David Sardella and his wife Anne, Daniel Sardella and his wife Roberta and the late Anne Joanne Borges. She is also survived by 11 great nieces and nephews.

Born in 1920, Rosaline was the daughter of Irish Catholic immigrants from Northern Ireland, John and Rosetta (O’Hara) Blaney. She was born and raised in the (at the time) heavily Irish Roxbury section of Boston. She worked for many years in the hospitality industry as a hostess in restaurants and hotels around New England and Florida. She divided her time for many years between Cape Cod and Pompano Beach before returning to the Boston area in 2002 to be near family.

When Rosaline reached her early 20s, she began spending winters in Florida, working in hotels and restaurants. This upset her very traditional Irish mother, but Rosaline had an independent streak that would not be denied. She married at age 39 and was wife for about a dozen years to Ralph W. McKenzie, until his death around 1971. But for most of her life, Aunt Rosaline was on her own, living her life on her own terms and answering to no one but herself.

While she was ahead of her time in her determination to live her life as an independent woman, Rosaline (Blaney) McKenzie was also family oriented and would jokingly refer to herself as “your favorite aunt.”

Family members gathered graveside on August 28 as a priest offered prayers.
Doyle's - Jamaica Plain, MA
After leaving the cemetery, we all went to lunch at Doyle’s in Jamaica Plain, Boston’s landmark Irish pub, where cousin Frances “Pudgy” Kilday called Doyle’s longtime owner and current manager Gerry Burke over to our table. Gerry and Pudgy regaled the rest of us with stories of old Roxbury and the Boston Irish.

Proud of her Irish heritage and a sociable “people person” with the gift of gab, it was exactly the kind of send off that Aunt Rosaline would have enjoyed if she could have been there herself.

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One Response to “RIP, Rosaline (Blaney) McKenzie”

  1. 1 Roberta

    Mark-Great Job in summarizing not only the day we interred
    Roz’s ashes but Roz and her lifestyle. R.I.P. Auntie


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