Mary Ellen Boyle Kerwin was a pillar of South Omaha, where she lived for 85 years.

She was active at St. Bridget Catholic Church and its school, Omaha South High School, Highland Park Neighborhood Association and South Omaha Neighborhood Alliance.

Kerwin died June 9 at Hospice House-The Josie Harper Residence after a short illness, said daughter Mary Morrissey of Omaha.

“She really, truly loved people. She always thought it was very important to be of service to people.”

And serve Kerwin did.

She helped organize and was active in the St. Bridget Home and School Committee and was a room mother for more than 16 years.

She served in all officer positions of Omaha South’s Booster Club and was chairwoman of the sports banquet for 10 years. She also served on the Omaha Public Schools’ Advisory Council and on a curriculum group.

Kerwin was active at St. Bridget Church.

She was school secretary, parish secretary and parish bookkeeper for 27-plus years. She organized the parish funeral dinners and a prayer group, served several years as an officer for the Altar Society and the Parish Council, and was a Catholic Daughters leader. She was active on the bazaar committees and co-chairwoman of the festival several times with her husband.

At Mass, she was a lector and Eucharistic minister.

Kerwin had been an officer and active member since 1979 of the Omaha Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women, which honored her with its Mullen Award.

She was on the committee to form the Archdiocesan Agency Volunteer Service, was chairwoman of the Celebration of Marriage program and served on the Archbishop’s Campaign for Educational Excellence.

She helped organize Highland Park Neighborhood Association and served in several offices for the South Omaha Neighborhood Alliance.

“She loved where she lived,” said SONA President Mike Battershell. “Every day she woke up, said a prayer and went to be with people working to make their lives better.

“We were lucky to have her in the ranks of the South Omaha Neighborhood Alliance, and I am certain the city is better because of her dedication,” he said.

Kerwin graduated from the now-closed Notre Dame Academy.

She was preceded in death by her husband of 50 years, Hugh B. Kerwin.

Besides daughter Morrissey, other survivors include children Kate Pennisi of Omaha, Connie Aliano of Omaha, Sue Sykora of Treynor, Iowa, Hugh “Bou” Kerwin of Bennington, Denise Diminyatz of Sacramento, Calif., Billie Mancuso of Bellevue, John Kerwin of Gretna, Sheila Cherney of La Vista, Eileen Kudlacz of Omaha and Debbie Boylan of Papillion; 36 grandchildren; and 35 great-grandchildren.

A funeral Mass for Mary Kerwin was celebrated Friday at St. Bridget Catholic Church.

Story by:
Contact the writer: Sue Story Truax    |   402-444-1165
Sue writes obituaries and covers community news and schools for’s Living section, primarily Community Connection.

Originally ran in the Omaha World Herald Tuesday June 18