Mary E. McGovern, 91: Mother of 10, worked at Pentagon

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PORTLAND — Mary Ella McGovern, 91, died peacefully July 23 at her Warwick Street home, with her family by her side.

McGovern was born in Muskogee, Oklahoma, on Sept. 2, 1922, the daughter of Dan and Mary Dallas Hall. She attended local schools and graduated from Central High School in Muskogee in 1940.

She soon traveled to Washington, D.C., to work as a stenographer in military intelligence, a job she obtained through a mailed application. Her office was the first to move into the newly completed Pentagon.

On Aug. 26, 1945, she married James H. McGovern. Shortly after their marriage, the couple moved to Maine, where her full-time job became raising 10 children. In 1974, she enrolled in a business class at the University of Maine at Portland-Gorham. She went on to earn a certificate in secretarial studies, and then worked at Maine Medical Center as an admission clerk. She retired in 1986.

She was a longtime communicant of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church.

She was an active member of “The Club,” a woman’s group of family and friends that began meeting monthly after World War II and continued for over 60 years.

In her spare time, McGovern enjoyed sewing, knitting, embroidery and reading.

She was predeceased by her husband in 2005. She is survived by three daughters, Mary Sue Stonebreaker, of Portland, Katie and husband, Peter Keniston, of South Portland, and Ann Marie and husband, James Boisvert, of Scarborough; seven sons, James D. and wife, Bernadette McGovern, of Green Bay, Wisconsin, John T. and wife, Jean McGovern, of Portland, Michael and wife, Kathy McGovern, of Portland, Philip F. McGovern of Portland, Joseph R. and wife, Rebecca, of Stowe, Vermont, Terrance H. and wife, Joellen McGovern, of Scarborough, and Stephen G. and wife, Mary McGovern, of Wilbraham, Massachusetts; 33 grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.

A Mass of Christian burial was held at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, in Portland. Burial followed in Calvary Cemetery, in South Portland.

Those who wish may make contributions in McGovern’s memory to the St. Vincent DePaul Soup Kitchen, 307 Congress St., Portland, ME 04101.

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