Brunet, Jeanne Helen (nee Meagher) 88, of Arlington, formerly of Cambridge and Somerville, passed away peacefully in the presence of family at Mount Auburn Hospital on January 26, 2020. Jeanne was predeceased by her beloved husband James W. Devoted mother of James and his wife Rebecca of Ocean Pines, MD, Richard of Arlington and his friend Jerri Fullerton, Deborah of North Andover, and Jane of Arlington. Doting grandmother of Matthew and wife Jennifer, Meghan, Sarah Tuttle and spouse Xavid Pretzer, and Nathan. Survived by treasured sister Marilyn Boyd of Marlborough. Also survived by in-laws Phyllis Pawl, Bette Hadge and Ron Hadge, and dozens of adoring nieces and nephews. Daughter of the late H. Richard and Grace Meagher. Predeceased by daughter-in-law Donna, sisters Phyllis Meagher, Elaine Pugatch and Grace Day, in-laws Robert Pugatch, John Day, James Boyd, Phillip and Helen Brunet, Mildred and Frank Wells, Richard Pawl, Rita and Francis O’Rourke, Marie and Gabriel Danch, Jean, Joan and Reynolds Giorgetti. Jeanne’s capacity for love and kindness enabled her to befriend many, and both family and friends will greatly miss her.
Jeanne was the second-born daughter of five sisters. Her older sister Philly was her constant companion throughout her childhood and adolescence, and they spent many a Saturday at the Harvard and Somerville Theaters watching Hollywood magic on the silver screen. Jeanne’s love of everything HOLLYWOOD started with those joyous afternoons, and continued for her entire life. Jeanne was known to watch three to four movies every single day.
Jeanne loved her childhood growing up on Harvey Street in North Cambridge with her sisters. When she was being treated for breast cancer in 2019, she insisted on taking Harvey Street to get to her treatments so she could enjoy the drive down memory lane. She often told stories of riding her Victory bike, growing her Victory garden, and swimming and skating at Jerry’s Pit. She was very proud of the education she received during those years at St. John’s Grammar School and St. John’s High School, which she credited with giving her a great business education. As a young woman out of high school, Jeanne went right to work at the Continental Clothing Company.
Jeanne went on to work at “the gas company,” where one night a co-worker invited her to a party. It was a set-up! Jeanne’s co-worker had predicted that she would hit it off with James W. Brunet… and she was right. Jeanne and Jim were married in 1954, and stayed married, in love, and devoted until Jim’s death in 2014. During the first fifty years of their marriage, the Immaculate Conception Parish and School were fixtures in their lives. All four children attended the school, and Jeanne took great delight in the friends she met through various activities and clubs at the church, especially the Lady’s Sodality. Over the course of her membership, Jeanne held every office in the club.
Jeanne’s friends were pillars of joy in her life. In 1968, Jeanne joined a club that met once a week into the nineties. It was a health-conscious club for women. Together, the women travelled, ate, and supported one another through life’s ups and downs. The friendships she made there were so important to her. After Jeanne moved to Cambridge, she found the Thursday Night Group, full of laughter and true friends that would remain close to her and Jim for the rest of their lives.
Jeanne was proud of the work she accomplished as a judicial secretary. Most notably, for fifteen years, Jeanne was the lead judicial secretary at the Middlesex County Courthouse. She loved the challenges of the cases she worked on and the people she worked with. She took particular delight in telling reporters outside the courthouse that she could not comment on cases because she was the judge’s secretary.
Jeanne loved to act and sing and dance, and took every opportunity to entertain— whether on the front of a bus on Broadway, in minstrel shows on the stage of the Immaculate Conception gymnasium, or at over fifty years of family Fourth of July celebrations. She would sing through dinners, and conduct movie scores from her recliner. We always knew she was happy when she was singing… and she was always singing.
Jeanne always had enough room in her home and heart for her entire family, and it was her family that brought her the greatest happiness. She took delight and pride in each of her children and grandchildren. When she was trying to choose a vacation destination, trips to visit family near and far were always the top of her list. More than anything, she valued time with loved ones.
Jeanne approached the world with grace, humor, love, and faith. She was a light that was recognized by everyone who met her—from strangers in the elevator who rode an extra floor to chat a little longer, to her closest loved ones. Her memory will be treasured, and her presence greatly missed.
Relatives and friends are invited to attend Visiting Hours at Saint John's Church, 2254 Mass Ave in NORTH CAMBRIDGE, on Wednesday from 4-8pm. Her Funeral Mass will be celebrated in the church on Thursday, at 11am. Burial to follow in Woodlawn Cemetery, Everett. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Jeanne’s memory to the Hoffman Breast Center at Mount Auburn Hospital, 330 Mt Auburn St, Cambridge, MA 02138. For complete obituary, directions or to send a condolence visit www.keefefuneralhome.com