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Mary Priestly Loves Taking Care of People

By Ben Ryder

Local Wakefield seniors and Wakefield Memorial High School seniors came
together for lunch, conversation, and interviews as part of a cross-generational
program titled Seniors to Seniors. The resulting articles written by students using
lived experiences from the adults as content are being published as a series.
Seniors to Seniors is a collaboration between The Savings Bank, The Room to
Write, Wakefield High School, Wakefield Senior Center, Wakefield Daily Item, and
JC Marketing Associates.

Throughout her life, Mary Priestly has always loved taking care of people.
From her many nieces and nephews to her patients at Mass General, she has
always been there to help.

On Christmas Eve 1938, Mary Priestly was born. Raised in Brunswick,
Maine, Mary loved her town very much and wouldn’t have a care in the world, but
that would change when it comes to sports. Mary won backyard ball all of the time.
She played games like softball, soccer, and tennis.

She attended Brunswick High School with her four siblings. She never liked
math but carried down the family tradition of doing medical work after grade
school. Going to school was very different than it is today. Everyone would walk
to school, talk to each other, and have fun easily. Sometimes she and her friend
would steal her friend’s dad’s car and get in some trouble.

Mary grew up in a small apartment on the corner of Elm Street. When she
turned 15, she and her friends got a job picking beans on a farm, making 50 cents
an hour. They would take a local bus to the fields every day. Since her father
passed away and she was one of the oldest in the house, her mother expected her to
help, which she did in a heartbeat. She did so by paying taxes, financial things, and
other essential items for the house.

After high school, Mary went directly to CMMC School of Radiologic
Technology, which helped her develop her skills with an X-ray machine. She knew
it would be a big journey, but she was up for the challenge. During her professional
career, Mary moved jobs a lot. She worked at Beth Israel for 5 years, and
Somerville for another 5, but the bulk of her career was at Mass General, where
she worked for 22 years. She met many friends along the way, but one of her best
friends, Faye Cushman, lived in an apartment in Wakefield. Mary stayed there
throughout her senior year of college and the beginning of her career till she had
enough money to buy her own place.

During her life, Mary enjoyed her job. She was never married or had kids,
allowing her to care about other things. She worked a lot and cared about the
people she took care of. During her time at Mass General, she met a few
professional athletes. Her favorite experience was meeting Derek Sanderson, a
former professional hockey player for the Boston Bruins.

She bought her first house on Preston Street in 1982. A small apartment
complex turned into bigger condos right before Mary moved in. All her siblings
got married and had huge families. After she retired in 2009, Mary focused on her
family. She visited Maine a lot, watching her nieces and nephews win high school
championships. After the games, she would cook huge, delicious, and delectable
meals for them. She always wanted to be there.

Mary is a caring person who loves her family and her passion for work. She
loves to play bingo at the Senior Center two days a week and uses her winnings as
her playing money, so she never has to worry about paying! The other players get
aggravated at her because she wins so much. Mary Priestly is a lovely woman, but
don’t play bingo against her!

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Mail Theft Advisory
The North Reading Police Department is advising that anyone who utilized the blue, standalone US Postal Service collection box, which is located at the rear of the post office, at 174 Park St., any time after 12 PM on Saturday, June 8, has had their mail stolen. Direct questions as follows: • Specific questions on your account, please contact The Savings Bank at 800-246-2009. • Questions regarding this theft, please contact the North Reading Police Department at 978–664–3131. Read more.