Marilyn was born in Haverhill, MA on September 30, 1937. She was the cherished daughter of the late Angus B. and Mary E. (DeMatteo) McPhee. Marilyn was raised in Stoneham, MA, where she attended St. Patrick’s School and graduated from Girls Catholic High School in Malden. Marilyn continued her education earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Technology from Merrimack College in Andover (1959) and a Master’s Degree in Education from Fitchburg State College (1981).
Marilyn married her beloved husband and best friend Leon Chalifour on May 12, 1962; the couple also settled in Wilmington in 1962 where they raised their four children. Marilyn loved being a mother, and her unconditional love and support for her family was evident in everything she did.
Marilyn was a medical technologist in Reading, MA before becoming a teacher. She taught Medical Technology at Shawsheen Valley Technical High School in Billerica for 23 years before retiring in 2000. She was passionate about teaching, inspiring and connecting with her students. She used to say “you can never care too much.” Marilyn’s dedication to her students as well as to her profession made her a favorite amongst the staff and the student body.
Marilyn was an avid reader, and when healthy, enjoyed horseback riding at the Iron Stone Farm in North Andover where she also volunteered and helped with their Special Olympics equestrian events. Marilyn was very giving of her time and talents to help others, and believed in and supported many philanthropic efforts that dealt with education, women, children and the poor: she was sponsoring the education of two girls in Haiti and supported Haiti’s Free the Kids, St. Mary’s Center for Women & Children, Rosie’s Place and Kiva. She also had a soft spot for animals and supported several New England rescues and shelters: Lowell Humane Society, Northeast Animal Shelter, the Merrimack Feline Rescue and the MSPCA of Boston.
Marilyn loved traveling with Leon every chance she could; whether it was a day trip along the coast or through the back roads, or their many trips to California, or their “trip of a lifetime” across the country, they enjoyed seeing landmarks and discovering the history of the places they visited. In later years, they loved their time together in their Wells, ME cottage.
Marilyn was an active communicant at St. Dorothy’s Church in Wilmington where she taught CCD for many years, and after she retired, she taught CCD for adults in her home. Marilyn was also one of the first female Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion for her parish and helped with countless funerals throughout the years until her declining health.
Marilyn is strongly known and will be remembered as a wonderful woman, helpful, caring, and kind, who cherished the time she spent with family and friends, but whom, throughout her life, had a devotion to helping others. She knew her purpose in life was to make a difference and she spent her life doing just that. She made everyone around her feel special and she will be truly missed by all who knew and loved her.
Marilyn was the beloved wife of Leon G. Chalifour, devoted mother of Paul Chalifour & wife Deborah of Wilmington, William Chalifour of Lowell, Dianne Chalifour of Portsmouth, NH, and the late Margaret Chalifour. Cherished daughter of the late Angus B. and Mary E. (DeMatteo) McPhee, dear sister of Karen McNaughton & husband Robert of Tewksbury and the late Michael McPhee. Special niece of Edna DeMatteo of Haverhill, aunt of Heather & Dan Bogonis and their sons Justin, Samuel, and George and Robbie & Debbie McNaughton and their son Brennan. Marilyn is also survived by several brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Family and friends will gather at St. Dorothy’s Church, Main St (Rte. 38) in Wilmington, on Friday, June 24th at 10:00 AM for a Mass of Christian Burial. Interment to follow in Wildwood Cemetery, Wilmington. Visiting hours will be held at the Nichols Funeral Home, 187 Middlesex Ave., Wilmington, MA, on Thursday, June 23rd from 3:00-7:00 PM. In lieu of flowers donations in Marilyn’s memory may be made to St. Mary’s Center for Women & Children, 90 Cushing Ave., Dorchester, MA 02125, or any of the other charities listed above, or to a charity of your choice.