Agnes Birmingham, one of this city’s great ladies during the course of a long and wonderful life, has died following a lengthy illness.
She was 87 years old.
Mrs. Birmingham, a longtime employee in the City of Chelsea Auditor’s office until retiring in 1991, was surrounded by her family – the way she wanted it – when the end came in her Chelsea home on August 19.
Her funeral Thursday morning will begin at the Frank Welsh and Sons Funeral Home at 9:45 a.m. on Broadway which will be followed by a funeral Mass beginning at 11:00 a.m. in Charlestown at the St. Francis DeSales Church on Bunker Hill Street.
Her burial in Holy Cross Cemetery in Malden will follow.
For many years when her son Thomas Birmingham was State Senator from Chelsea and then State Senate President, Mrs. Birmingham was his main pillar of support in this city. She campaigned for him. She attended countless meetings. She held signs. She organized for him. She became instantly recognizable and very well known throughout this city.
Even after her son left the Senate, Mrs. Birmingham remained active in Chelsea city affairs on a variety of fronts.
She was member of the Supervisory Committee of the Chelsea Employees Federal Credit Union, a Board Member of the Chelsea Council of Elder Affairs, and a member of the Our Lady of Grace Church “Come as you are group.”
However, it was Mrs. Birmingham’s manner and her entire persona, that of an always nicely attired, well coifed, gray haired lady with a fabulous personality and the gift of gab that made her so memorable here during her lifetime spent in this city.
Her smile was brilliant and addictive. She made everyone she met feel comfortable. And she was a good-looking woman, always calm, cool and composed.
In retrospect, she was her son’s best recommendation without ever overdoing her role.
However, she was very much the matriarch of the family who watched over and gave her love, care and aid equally to all three of her children.
Mrs. Birmingham was devoted to her family and especially to her five grandchildren. She was, for a lifetime, in tune with her children and they were always in tune with their mother whom they revered.
All three Birmingham children extended their mother great care during the last years of her life when her health and well-being began to fail her.
Agnes Birmingham was born in Charlestown, the daughter of Peter and Margaret McDonnell. She grew-up in Charlestown and spent her childhood there and graduated from Charlestown High School.
Early in her life, in 1948, she met and fell in love with a Southie guy, John “Jackie” Birmingham. They settled in Chelsea in 1951 and started their family.
She raised three children, all of whom are well known and highly respected in this city today: Attorney Thomas Birmingham, Nancy Birmingham, a former public school principal here and James Birmingham, a Chelsea Fire Department Lt.
Mrs. Birmingham’s husband, Jack, died in 1985. They shared 37 years of marriage.
While most of her work years were spent at Chelsea City Hall, she was a frequent visitor to all the neighborhoods of this city. Her interest in people was non-denominational. She did not see by color or race, religion or age, or nationality.
She was beloved by many of us who knew her because she was genuine, always well mannered and forever kind and interested in what others had to say.
She was much more than Senate President Tom Birmingham’s mother.
She was everything to Tom and his brother and sister.
Chelsea has lost a great woman who spent 60 years of her life here, who loved her relationship with this city.
She was proud to live here and to call this place her home.