Obituary of Eileen G. McCann
Eileen G. McCann, of Lake Hopatcong, passed away peacefully on Monday, May 3, 2021 at Karen Ann Quinlan Home for Hospice. She was 75.
Eileen Grace McCann was born in Summit, NJ on April 24, 1946, the second of four children born to the late Harry and Kathleen McCann. She was raised in Madison where she attended St. Vincent Martyr School and Bayley Ellard High School. She attended the College of St. Elizabeth where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Psychology, and later continued her education by completing post-graduate courses in Social Work at Rutgers University, attending in the evenings.
A lifelong resident of Morris County, throughout her high school and college years Eileen was employed in many capacities by the local communities where she lived and studied. She also began what became a continuing commitment to volunteering and supporting non profit child services oriented organizations. Upon completion of college, Eileen was employed by the Division of Youth and Family Services, where she had a long and fulfilling career.
In her teens, Eileen began volunteering at the Mission of the Immaculate Virgin on Staten Island. Among other contributions, she would provide weekend and holiday visit to her home for children at the mission who did not have such opportunities to spend time and visit outside the community. Often, these relationships extended over several years. Eileen served tirelessly to support and sustain the Big Brother and Big Sister programs in Morris County. She was paramount in expanding the local Fresh Air Fund program capacities by providing her professional skills and experience to conduct interviews with potential sponsoring agencies, individuals, and families, thereby increasing the number of available homes for children wishing to participate in the Fresh Air experience. Eileen herself sponsored more than four children who were repeat guests in her home over the years. She was actively involved in her daughter Angela’s Girl Scout troop in Jefferson Township as founder and Scout Leader and was known to personally transport troop members to and from her house for meetings and activities.
Among and perhaps her most notable contribution was Eileen’s passion to provide safe, loving, comfortable, and secure homes and caring, devoted caretakers for children whose lives were lacking these critical components. For over twenty years, Eileen was a foster parent to over twenty children ranging in age from 5 to 11 or 12 years. Often, Eileen’s foster children, mission children, and occasional guest visitor shared time in Eileen’s home simultaneously.
During all the years from 1968 to her retirement almost 40 years later, Eileen was a dedicated employee of New Jersey’s State Welfare Agency Morris County District Office, known by various titles throughout these decades and most recently known as the NJ Department of Child Protection and Permanency. Eileen’s formal job titles and responsibilities included social worker, screener, administrative assistant, support staff supervisor, and were expanded informally to include office manager and acting office supervisor in the absence of formally named personnel. Most importantly she was the official office Santa Claus and director of the Christmas magic she created and directed every year. Eileen loved her Irish heritage and all things Christmas, and spearheaded, managed, and made possible the donations, collecting, and distributing of glorious Christmases for hundreds of DYFS kids for many years while she was employed by the Morris County office. Without her, her drive, organizational skills, energy, and love of every DYFS child, this wonderful happening would not be.
Eileen loved Christmas, reading, fresh flowers, Yankee candles, her favorite TV programs, talking, sharing and writing/receiving cards. She will be remembered as a loyal, loving, and committed friend who was always there for those she knew. Her sense of humor, quick-wit and wonderful laugh will be missed.
She was humble, endlessly patient, compassionate and extremely good-hearted… “Her home is small but her heart dwarfs the Pacific Ocean”.
Eileen was predeceased by her father, Harry in 1966 and her mother, Kathleen in 2007. Eileen had cared for and closely managed her mother’s care for many years and Mrs. McCann lacked for nothing under Eileen’s direction. She was also predeceased by her sister, Noreen McCann in 1969; her brother, Harry McCann in 2013; and her cousin Patty Bowen in 2013. She is survived by her daughter Angela Grace McCann and son Gilcrist Quinn McCann. Her sister Kathleen McCann Tirella, seven nieces and nephews and twelve great nieces and nephews. She is also survived by her dearest friend, Carol Harris. She is especially grateful to Linda Pierson, Linda Smith, Cathy Caruso, Patricia Barron, Michelle Melgarejo and members of the Lake Hopatcong Methodist Churchand Hurdtown Methodist Church and to those who supported her through her illness.
Services for Eileen are being held privately for her family under the direction of Madison Memorial Home.
In lieu of flowers, charitable contributions in Eileen’s memory may be made to the National Alliance for Mental Health NAMI Morris County, PO Box 260, East Hanover, NJ 07936, firstname.lastname@example.org, 973-285-7578.
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