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Maureen Strafford

Maureen Ann Strafford MD

Sunday, October 30th, 1949 - Wednesday, September 18th, 2019
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Obituary

Dr. Maureen Ann Strafford of Cambridge passed away on September 18, 2019 at the age of 69 at home surrounded by her beloved family and wearing her favorite “flanney.”

She valiantly fought Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer for over three and a half years. She is survived by an extensive loving family -- her husband of 35 tender years Alex MacDonald, daughters, Nora MacDonald of Cambridge and Emma MacDonald of Brooklyn, New York and their spouses Randy Berkowitz and Irene MacDonald, granddaughters, Charlotte and Louisa Maureen Berkowitz, devoted sister Nancy Hesko of Cambridge and nieces, Alison Thompson of Gilford, New Hampshire, Katherine Hesko of Malden, Massachusetts and Dr. Caroline Hesko of Burlington, Vermont along with their husbands, Jesse Thompson, Andrew Spofford and Garrett Hickey. Maureen is preceded in death by her mother and father, Irene and William Strafford, her brother William Strafford Jr. and grandnephew, John Bradley Thompson.

Maureen was born in 1949 in New York City. She received her bachelor’s degree from Barnard College in 1971 and graduated from Boston University Medical School in 1976. Maureen was widely known in the medical community as the embodiment of a compassionate and gifted physician. She undertook three medical residencies: pediatrics and pediatric cardiology at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City and anesthesiology at The Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). She was proud to be among the rare members of the medical profession who are triple-boarded. In 1983, post-training at MGH, she married her three boards and medical talents together and became a member of the world-renowned cardiac surgery team at Boston's Children's Hospital. There she was the anesthesiologist on thousands of complex children's operative and post-operative cases. In 1996, she was recruited by Tufts Medical Center in Boston to lead its Pediatric Anesthesia Department. Maureen’s training in pediatric cardiology and anesthesiology led to her founding Tufts’ Pediatric Pain Treatment Service, the first multidisciplinary pediatric pain-management program at the hospital.

Maureen’s intellectual gifts and philanthropic sophistication caused her to be a much sought after member of both public and private sector boards of trustees. She proudly served on the Board of Trustees of Barnard College and the admissions committee of Tufts University Medical School. Additionally, she served for more than a decade on the Board of Trustees of the Connecticut-based Tow Family Foundation, focusing on cutting edge medical research funding and issues of juvenile justice; the New Jersey-based Arnold P. Gold Foundation, advancing compassion and humanism in medicine; and the Boston-based Alosa Health Foundation, promoting pharmaceutical safety.

Her circle of friends was vast and her centrality in the lives of so many was one of her many life treasures. To say she was widely beloved does not pose the risk of overstating the degree of affection with which she was held by countless people, in and outside of medicine and her family. Her passing creates a crater of grief for her family and friends that will not soon, if ever, heal.

Consistent with her lifelong devotion to the faith of her Celtic childhood, there will be a wake for Maureen at The DeVito Funeral Home located at 761 Mount Auburn Street in Watertown on Friday, September 27th between 1-4 pm and 6-8 pm. On Saturday morning, September 28th, Maureen’s funeral mass will be conducted at The Paulist Center at 5 Park Street in Boston at 11 am. Please go directly to the Paulist Center on Saturday.
Following the funeral service, Maureen will be buried at Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, across the street from her long-time home in the Coolidge Hill section of West Cambridge.

Options for parking near the Paulist Center include the Boston Common Garage or the garage at One Beacon Street. Seating at the Paulist Center is limited, arriving early is advised.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to The Cure Starts Now (thecurestartsnow.org -Gilford, NH Chapter) in loving memory of Maureen’s grandnephew, John Bradley Thompson.
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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Friday, September 27th, 2019 | 1:00pm - 4:00pm
    When
    Friday, September 27th, 2019 1:00pm - 4:00pm
    Location
    DeVito Funeral Home - Watertown
    Address
    761 Mt. Auburn Street
    WATERTOWN, MA 02472
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Second Visitation

    Friday, September 27th, 2019 | 6:00pm - 8:00pm
    When
    Friday, September 27th, 2019 6:00pm - 8:00pm
    Location
    DeVito Funeral Home - Watertown
    Address
    761 Mt. Auburn Street
    WATERTOWN, MA 02472
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Service

    Saturday, September 28th, 2019 | 11:00am
    When
    Saturday, September 28th, 2019 11:00am
    Location
    Paulist Center, Boston, MA
    Address
    5 Park St.
    Boston, MA 02108
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Please go directly to the Paulist Center for Saturday's service
  • Interment

    Saturday, September 28th, 2019 |
    When
    Saturday, September 28th, 2019
    Location
    Mount Auburn Cemetery
    Address
    580 Mount Auburn St.
    CAMBRIDGE, MA 02138
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email

Condolences

We encourage you to share your most beloved memories of Maureen here, so that the family and other loved ones can always see it. You can upload cherished photographs, or share your favorite stories, and can even comment on those shared by others.

Private Condolence
Plant a Tree in Memory of Maureen
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2 trees have been planted in memory of Maureen Ann Strafford MD
RL

Ramon R Lopez

Posted at 06:28pm
My dear friend, Alex. I was saddened today when I heard of Maureen's passing. What a legacy she leaves you and your family with so many incredible professional accomplishments. I knew of some of these, but my goodness, who would have known that someone so humble, fun-loving and just so fun to be around had such an incredible medical career. Wow! Maureen was a gem of a human being who always made people feel special and welcomed into any room she graced. I am sorry I did not know of her long battle with cancer, and I am not surprised she went toe-to-toe with it until the end. I will miss ever having the chance to see her again, but will never forget her sense of humor and the kindness I was blessed to experience while in her presence many times in the past. God Bless you and your family. What a tremendous loss I am sure you all must feel. I will not only prayer for Maureen, but to her.
Monie Lopez
NS

Neelakantan Sunder

Posted at 08:32pm
Dear Alex,
So sorry to hear this.
Maureen was a great friend.
I am out of the country now and am hoping to make it to the funeral services. I will not be able to make it to the wake.
My heartfelt condolences . Hope to see you soon.
Love,
Sunder
JE

Jack and Lisa Erban

Posted at 06:01pm
Dear Alex and to the Family/friends of Dr. Maureen Strafford:

I was privileged to be asked by Dr. Strafford to provide care and guidance throughout her journey dealing with Breast Cancer. Little did I know I was entering a "new training program" so late in my career. Had I known, I would have invited others to join me.

Maureen was a remarkable patient, physician, student, teacher, humanitarian, in addition to being first and foremost a loving wife, mother, sister, aunt, grandmother.
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A memorial tree was planted in the memory of Maureen Strafford — Plant a Tree Now
DM

David MacIntyre

Posted at 01:01pm
Aunt Maureen truly lived life and changed the lives of those she touched for the better. Her influence will be felt for decades to come. During her amazing career, there are so many colleagues she mentored and patients she cared for. She was one of the kindest and most selfless individuals I have ever known. Her laugh was warm, genuine and most of all infectious. When she spoke, it was sincere and from the heart and her advice so often sage. Rest in peace.

Love
David MacIntyre
Jacqueline Sanders
EB

Evelyn and Chuck Berde

Posted at 09:59am
Maureen always connected with her open heart and loving spirit to the patients of Children’s Hospital.
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