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Laura “Muriel” (Flaherty) McGinnis, age 99 of Norwalk, died on Easter Sunday, April 1, 2018 at Waveny-The Village, New Canaan. Born in Harrison, New York, she was the daughter of the late Vincent J. and Laura (O’Brien) Flaherty. She graduated from Norwalk High School in 1935 and was installed in the Norwalk High School Teacher Honor Roll in 2002. She received a Bachelors’ Degree in English from the College of New Rochelle in 1939. She received a Master’s Degree from Teachers College, Columbia University and a 6th year certificate from Fairfield University. Muriel taught in the Norwalk Public School system and was an English teacher at Norwalk High School for 38 years, the last 7 years as Chair of the English Department. Muriel thoroughly enjoyed teaching and learning and was very proud of her students. She instilled a desire in her students to strive for excellence in all their endeavors. She led by example.
She gained several honors along the way, among them a William Robertson Coe Fellowship to study American literature and history at Yale University, a John Hay Fellowship to study the humanities at Bennington College and a federal fellowship to study the humanities at Brown University. She also was invited to teach at Penarth County School for Girls in Wales under a Fulbright grant during the 1957-58 school year and was awarded a John Hay Fellowship to teach the humanities at the University of Chicago. She was awarded the Ursula Laurus Award as a distinguished alumnus of her college.
While teaching at Norwalk High School she met the love of her life, a mathematics teacher, John McGinnis. They wed in 1972 and enjoyed many years of sharing family, friends, travel and new experiences until his death in 2000.
Muriel is survived by her sister-in-law, Regina O. Flaherty, and her nieces and nephews: Regina M. Flaherty, Vincent D. Flaherty, Jr., Laura O. Angus, John J. Flaherty, Phebe F. Fallon and Michael T. Flaherty and several grandnieces and grandnephews whom she adored. She was predeceased by her husband, John R. McGinnis, and her brother, Attorney Vincent D. Flaherty.
Muriel was a devout Roman Catholic, active in both St. Mary’s and St. Philip’s Churches and was a lector for over 20 years. As a result of the times in which she grew up, she appreciated her God, her family and her community. She was a committed volunteer throughout her life. In retirement, she volunteered her time as a docent at the Lockwood Mathews Mansion.
Her family would like to thank the loving, kind and compassionate care given to Muriel at The Village at Waveny.
Her family will receive friends on Friday, April 6, from 6-8 PM at the Magner Funeral Home, 12 Mott Avenue, Norwalk. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Saturday, April 7 at 10 AM at St. Philip Church, 1 Fr. Conlon Pl, Norwalk, with burial to follow at St. John Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests you may make a donation to Lockwood Mathews Mansion or Notre Dame Convalescent Homes, Inc. or to a charity of your choice.