Hazel Margaret (Shirling) McGonagle, 83, Worked at Pizzazze Hair Salon, McGonagle Staffing

Hazel Margaret (Shirling) McGonagle died surrounded by family on Dec. 29. McGonagle was born in Haverhill on May 14, 1935 to Hollis and Katherine Shirling. She was raised and educated in Haverhill, including at St. James High School where she graduated with the Class of 1953.

As a young woman, McGonagle met the love of her life, the late James J. McGonagle, whom she married on her birthday in 1955 at St. James Church, where they remained parishioners and volunteered consistently throughout their lives. She was particularly fond of the work of the St. Vincent de Paul Society for their support of expectant mothers and also supported the mission of the Liz Murphy Open Hand Pantry, which makes nutritious food options possible for families in need.

The couple settled in the family home on Primrose Street in Haverhill, and welcomed 10 children, resulting in 26 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren, with two more expected in 2019. McGonagle hosted every holiday, babysat (lots) for every child, and generally welcomed everyone with an open door, home-cooked meals and love. She and Jim traveled extensively with family and friends, including trips to Hawaii, Mississippi, Alabama, New Orleans, Virginia, Disney World, Stowe, Vt., North Conway, N.H., Lovell, Maine, California and the Carolinas. McGonagle also traveled to Ireland and Rome, Italy where she attended a Mass at the Vatican.

In addition to being a devoted wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, McGonagle also worked for Kenoza Vending, AAA of Merrimack Valley, for her daughter Kathleen Darby at Pizzazze Hair Salon, and most recently for her son, City Councilor Michael S. McGonagle’s business, McGonagle Contingency Staffing Inc., retiring only last year.

In 2015, McGonagle’s children marked her 80th birthday with a surprise celebration drawing together all of the many people whom she loved and who loved her most at Haverhill Country Club on a sunny spring day.

Her wry sense of humor, and work ethic were truly remarkable, but an unyielding devotion to her family and her faith defined her life. Just a couple of years ago, she personally made beautiful and warm blankets for each family member – each very thoughtfully considered and designed to suit each individual’s tastes. Similarly, each Christmas, she hung up Christmas stockings for each family member in her home, as Christmas was a very, very special time for everyone in the family.

In addition to her parents and husband, McGonagle is predeceased by her siblings Hollis Jr., Harley, and Haven Shirling, her godmother Lorraine Baxter, cousin Louise “Babe” Baxter, daughter-in-law Randi J. McGonagle, and grandson James McGonagle.

She is survived by her 10 children: Patrick and wife Carol of Haverhill, James and Lois of Lawrence, Michael and wife Maureen of Haverhill, Maureen Menzie and husband Robert of Haverhill, Daniel and wife Nora of Washington, Brian and wife Audrey of Methuen, Kathleen Darby and husband Eric of Haverhill, Timothy and wife Kathleen of Haverhill, Colleen of Haverhill, and Matthew and wife Jennifer of Haverhill, her sister Harlene Gianoukous and husband Constantine of Haverhill. She is also survived by her sisters-in-law Mary Rose Crowley of Florida, and Margaret “Peg” Dolan of Tewksbury, many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins, and many friends.

Family and friends are invited to attend calling hours on Monday, Jan. 7 from 10 a.m.-noon at St. James Church, Winter Street, Haverhill with a Mass of Christian Burial to be celebrated following calling hours at noon. Burial will be in St. James Cemetery, Primrose Street, Haverhill. In lieu of flowers please consider donating to St. Vincent de Paul, or to the Liz Murphy Open Hand Pantry at St. James Church, Haverhill, MA.