Mary Jo (Brennan) Duffy, 93, of Hopkinton passed away peacefully on Dec. 3 surrounded by her loving children. She is preceded in death by her beloved husband of 64 years, Dr. John H. Duffy. Daughter of the late William B. and Letitia (Farrell) Brennan, Mary Jo was born in Providence, Rhode Island, and attended the College of New Rochelle, where she graduated with a B.A. in art, and the Catholic University of America, where she earned an M.A. in history.
Mary Jo studied in Paris shortly after the end of World War II and wrote her dissertation for her master’s degree on the critical role Free France, led by Charles de Gaulle, played in confronting the Vichy regime’s collaboration with the German occupiers. A resident of Hopkinton since 1959, Mary Jo was very active in St. John the Evangelist Catholic parish for many years. She founded and ran a catechesis program to supplement normal CCD instruction which included professors recruited from Boston College to teach advanced theology to the high school-aged students. Mary Jo was active in politics and instrumental in the passage of Proposition 2 1/2 in Massachusetts, as well as engaging in pro-life activities and supporting mothers and children in need. A lifelong student and avid reader of philosophy, theology and history, Mary Jo displayed an incisive mind and ready wit. She was a formidable challenger in any intellectual discussion, yet she always had open arms and a compassionate heart to anyone in need. Above all, Mary Jo was marked by her deep and abiding Catholic faith.
Mary Jo is survived by six sons and four daughters, Christine Cloutier of Natick, Thomas Duffy of Randolph, New Jersey, Michael Duffy of Hopkinton, Mary Corkery of Mansfield, Robert Duffy of East Greenwich, Rhode Island, Peter Duffy of Merrimack, New Hampshire, James Joseph Duffy of Shirley, Richard Duffy of Syracuse, New York, Letitia Bottino of Wareham, and Kathleen Nash of Holliston; her brother, James Brennan of Falmouth; 45 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. She is predeceased by her much-loved children John Duffy Jr. of New Haven, Connecticut, and James Weston Duffy of Hopkinton.
Visitation will be held on Monday, Dec. 13, from 4-7 p.m. at the Chesmore Funeral Home, 57 Hayden Rowe Street, Hopkinton. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 14, at 11 a.m. at St. John the Evangelist Church, 20 Church Street, Hopkinton. Burial will follow the Mass at St. Patrick’s Cemetery, 2233 Robeson Street, Fall River. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to BirthRight, 79A Main Street, Framingham, MA 01702.