Sad passing of Mary O’Riordan

You may not have learned that Mary O’Riordan passed away last week. Mary led PHA for a number of years. She fought for better care and resources in the state and national capitol. Through her many contacts in San Francisco and the Golden Gate Regional Center, she raised funds for PHA. Mary’s son, Michael, who some of us knew passed away some years ago.Mary had no training to be an advocate, but she was smart, tough, and a loving mother. She led by example and her charming Irish accent. She never stopped fighting for our families. In my sixty-five years of observing advocacy for people with developmental disabilities, Mary has earned a place on our Mt. Rushmore. Her obituary is below. The funeral service will be this Wednesday at St. Patrick’s in Larkspur at 11 a.m. Details are in the obituary.Thank you to Mary Grangoff for arranging for flowers to be sent to the family. Brien, FAU/PHA President

Mary Christina O’Riordan

Mary Christina O’Riordan passed away at home, surrounded by family and friends on Wednesday, December 15, 2021, after fighting a long battle with metastatic breast cancer.

Mary was born in Clonberne, County Galway, Ireland, one of seven children to Mary and William Feeney. Mary emigrated to Boston when she was 16 years old.

She loved her Irish heritage and embraced her fellow Irish-Americans. One of the highlights of her life is that she became a US citizen just in time to vote for John F. Kennedy for president.

While in Boston she graduated from the Cambridge School of Business, and became an active member of the Boston Irish community, making many lifelong friends. It was with some of these friends that she ventured out on a cross-country trip in the early 60s with the goal of seeing America. They settled in Denver for a short time, where she met John O’Riordan. Mary and John married in San Francisco in 1963, and had four children – Kevin, Michael, Jerry, and Karena.

Mary retired in 2006 from the San Francisco Fire Department after 20 years of loyal service. Upon retirement, Mary received a Certificate of Honor from the San Francisco Board of Supervisors for outstanding and dedicated service, as well as personal advocacy work for the rights of developmentally disabled citizens.

Mary was involved in many political and human rights causes and was a tireless advocate for the developmentally disabled. She lobbied in Sacramento and Washington DC to ask state and federal representatives to ensure their safety, education, and human rights through legislation. Her leadership of the board of the Parent Hospital Association at the Sonoma Developmental Center, where her son Michael was a resident, saw the first major public coverage of the challenges faced by these vulnerable citizens who couldn’t speak up for themselves.

Mary is preceded in death by her son, Michael. She is survived by three children – Kevin (Lydia), Jerry, Karena; four grandchildren – Trelasa (Chris), Mace, Shane (Kassie), and Maeve; and two great-grandchildren – Jazmyn and Zephyr.

Services will be held at St. Patrick’s Church in Larkspur, CA on Wednesday, December 22, 2021, at 11:00 a.m. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the St. Vincent DePaul Society.
Monte’s Chapel Of The Hills
San Anselmo, CA
Published by San Francisco Chronicle from Dec. 17 to Dec. 19, 2021.

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