Mary Elizabeth Crane Kirby


Mary Elizabeth Crane Kirby’s long life on this earth ended Tuesday, December 6, at Pilgrim Rehabilitation Center in Peabody, MA.  She was 96. 

Daughter of Stephen and Mary Emma (Mercer) Crane, Mary grew up in Manchester-by-the-Sea, the second to youngest of a large, loving family.  She watched brothers go off to war and rejoiced that they came home safe.  While attending Emerson College in Boston she met a returning Lawrence (Larry) Kirby.  They married in 1946 and raised their own family on Summer Street next to her childhood home. 

Mary liked to joke about how much she had in common with Queen Elizabeth II: born the same year, with the same given names, mother to three sons and a daughter, and (in a punchline often added by Larry), “she married a prince.”  They celebrated 76 years of marriage in April, having recently moved to a senior facility in Danvers.

As a valued employee at Northeast Airlines, later Delta, Mary enjoyed travels to Europe.  As an artist, she produced beautiful works on canvas—and in fabric, designing and sewing quilts, including a widely displayed one to commemorate Manchester’s 350th birthday.  A beloved member of the community, she was especially active in the Congregational Church as a long-time member of the choir and often leading preparations for its annual Christmas Fair.

Mary is survived by husband Larry, sons Larry Jr. (Diane Robinson), Ted (Ruth), and Alan (Julia), and daughter Christine (Jim) Gagne; grandchildren Michael Crawford, Shaun (Kim) Crawford, Alyson (Todd) Smith, Kate (Matt) Ellis, David, Jane, and Ted Kirby; great-grandchildren Sam Ellis, Caroline, Tyler, and Kirby Smith, and Cameron and Catherine Crawford.  Also, her sister, Doris Milne, and many nephews and nieces.

A celebration of her life will be held at the First Parish Church Congregational on Saturday, January 14 at 11 am, with refreshments to follow in the Chapel.  Burial will be private.

christine jim gagne, fred morgan kirby, kate matt ellis, manchester, alyson todd smith, emerson college in boston, alan julia, catherine crawford, diane robinson, doris milne, shaun kim crawford, michael crawford, mary elizabeth crane kirby mary elizabeth crane kirby, mary emma mercer, emerson college, massachusetts, ted ruth, larry kirby, sam ellis, mary emma (mercer) crane