Arlene A. McGrory

  • Born: November 28, 1943
  • Died: February 17, 2020
  • Location: Malden, Massachusetts

Gately Funeral Home

79 West Foster Street
Melrose, MA 02176

Tel. (781) 665-1949

Tribute & Message From The Family

Arlene A. McGrory, 76, of Malden passed away on Monday, February 17, 2020 at Elmhurst Healthcare following a lengthy illness. She is the loving spouse of Karen A. Wheelock with whom she shared 15 years of marriage.

Arlene was born November 28, 1943 in Newark, NJ, daughter of the late Thomas J. and Lillian E. (Schoellhamer) McGrory. Arlene was raised by her mother's second husband the late Norman Hacket. She was a resident of Malden for over 25 years previously residing in Medford and Everett. She was raised in New Jersey, a graduate of Woodbridge Senior High School, Woodbridge, NJ, which was just the beginning of her educational journey. She received her diploma in Nursing from Perth Amboy General Hospital in Perth Amboy, NJ. She went onto Russell Sage College in Troy, NY where she earned her Bachelor's of Science in Nursing. Arlene then moved to Malden where she started working as an assistant instructor at Malden Hospital School of Nursing. She continued her educational pursuits and received her Master's Degree of Science in Nursing from Boston University and a Doctorate of Nursing from Boston University.

During her career, Arlene taught at other colleges and schools of nursing in the Boston area. Her last employment was as an assistant professor in the undergraduate Department of College of Health Professionals, University of Lowell. She was also the Nursing Supervisor at Mass Eye and Ear in Boston.

Arlene had a passion for teaching which she passed on to her students during her teaching career.

Arlene belonged to numerous professional and community organizations, ETA Mega Chapter of the Sigma Theta Tau, an international Honor Society of Nursing, and The Associates of Thanatology and was an advisor for the Learning for Supportive Care. She also belonged to the Zonta Club of Malden, a professional Business Women's International organization.

Arlene enjoyed traveling; she combined this with her professional career and lectured all over the country. She presented a research paper at an international Nursing Organization in Vienna.

Arlene published a book titled "A Well Model Approach to the Care of the Dying Client."

Being a gourmet cook, she had a recipe included in WGBH's "Lights, Camera Kitchen."

Arlene kept her since of humor, her intuitiveness and intellectual curiosity throughout her long struggle with Parkinson's disease.

She was much loved by her wife Karen, who had been with Arlene since 1983. They both lived and loved thru many history making events in obtaining civil rights for the LGB Community.

Arlene was the step sister of the late Norman P. Hackett, Jr. of Michigan and is survived by many nieces and nephews.

Visitation will be held at the Gately Funeral Home, 79 W. Foster St., Melrose, on Thursday, February 20, 2020 from 9:00-11:00 AM followed by an 11:00 AM Prayer service in the Funeral Home. Burial will be in Maple Hill Cemetery, Peabody.

In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to: Donation Processing, The Michael J. Fox Foundation, P.O. Box 5014
Hagerstown, MD 21741-5014 or at


Condolence & Memory Journal


In Loving Memory of Arlene McGrory who died on 2/17/2020

Posted by Karen Wheelock - Malden, MA - Spouse   February 12, 2021

Saddened to learn of Arlene's passing. She was a classmate at Russell Sage College and fellow nursing major. Later our paths crossed in the Boston area where we both worked in local hospital. She was an exemplary nurse, a most caring person and committed to her patients, her colleagues, wife and friends.

Posted by Janet Jones    April 03, 2020

The fondest memories of my long time family friend. I feel a sadness that we lost connection, and I pray for the bese for Karen.

Posted by NICHOLAS Nicky - Friend   March 12, 2020

Karen, I remember meeting you and Arlene at the Stoneham Theatre.
I enjoy Arlene's sense of humor and brave spirit. I am so sorry for your loss.
Kathy Melvin

Posted by Kathleen Melvin - Melrose, MA - Acquaintance   February 24, 2020

Arlene took me under her wing when I was at Nursing School. She had amazing intuition and a brilliant mind. I will always be grateful she was there for me. May the Memory be a Blessing

Posted by Mary Jane Levasseur - Cambridge, MA - Student   February 23, 2020

Dr. Arlene McGrory was a well-respected nurse faculty colleague at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. Her research and teaching positively influenced hundreds of nursing students, now alumni, who are impacting healthcare today.

Posted by Karen Devereaux Melillo - Lowell, MA - Coworker   February 23, 2020

I will miss you but have you in my heart

Posted by Karen Wheelock - Malden, MA - Spouse   February 22, 2020

I met Arlene almost 50 years ago, when we both happened to be doing temp nursing work at the BI in Boston. Christmas came along, and since we were both heading to New Jersey, she generously offered to drive me home. We almost didn't make it. She was in the process of getting her book on dying published, I had had experience with many terminal cancer patients, so we got involved in a great conversation about how dying is a natural part of life and the dying shouldn't be excluded from it. It was so great that we missed a turnoff, and were headed back to Boston Not just that, but four hours later we ended up in Tuxedo New York and into the New Jersey Palisades, a beautiful area we had never seen before. That was a clear clue to shut up. It was also the beginning of a beautiful friendship that has lasted for the rest of our lives.

I got Parkinson's about 12 years ago. Arlene told me that she would support me from then on out. She sure did. She gave me advice about medications and exercise. Most of all she lead by example. She had to give up her dream of writing a novel. She had to stop using a personal trainer to stay in shape. She would mourn these losses openly, and then go on to discover new adventures. When I saw her, she always had a smile, even that last time, four months before hew death, when she had lost weight and had suction equipment at her bedside. She asked about my son and even remembered the name of my husband. About a decade before, she had told me that she had an especially difficult form of PD and that her doctors felt she might live for 2 more years, She lived at least 8 years beyond prediction.

Posted by Susan Horne - Burnsville, NC - friend   February 22, 2020

Karen and family,

I am so sorry to hear about Arlene's passing. I knew Arlene during her time as nursing supervisor at MEEI.

What I do Remember the most is the chats Arlene and I had in the nursing office. She was always quick to start a conversation and I will miss her wisdom and great stories of those times as MEEI. I was so glad when I came into work and saw Arlene was the Supervisor. When she saw me she said oh good your here! We laughed at so many silly things going on around us.

The best advice Arlene ever gave me is when I was about to marry after a long engagement. Arlene knew both me and my husband Bill. She said just do it and go
Live and Love and don't get into the silliness. I took her advice.

Arlene was such a sweet, adventurous and kind lady but with a quick wit. I will always admire her tireless energy- nothing ever seemed to slow her down.She had dogged determination in her pursuit of her degrees. I will always remember her for that smile she always displayed.

I hope that you will find the inner strength to get you through this sad and difficult time. You have my very deepest and sincere sympathy.

Annabelle Shields
William Westlund

Posted by Annabelle Shields - Melrose, MA   February 21, 2020

Sincere condolences.

Claudia Freda
Briar Hill

Posted by Claudia Freda - MALDEN, MA   February 20, 2020

Arlene will be missed greatly She was a dear friend and I enjoyed spending many a holiday with her My her memory be or a blessing Maureen

Posted by MAUREEN FRITZ - Malden, MA - Friend   February 19, 2020

Arlene was one of the most special, caring, intelligent, and unique women I have ever known in my life. It was a privilege that I got to know her and share 13 years of camping together with thousands of other women at the Michigan Annual Women's Music Festival . I also was thrilled to attend her legal marriage celebration in Boston and be among her friends who joined her and Karen on their honeymoon in Cape Cod afterwards. They visited us in Madison WI for a big reunion of friends after the millennium. She and Karen enjoyed a visit in recent years to Tampa and Sarasota where we laughed, cried, and remembered so many priceless moments. She will be missed by so many, and the world seems an emptier place now that she has died and is at last in everlasting peace.

Posted by Carol Barker - Temple Terrace, FL - Friend   February 19, 2020

Such a wonderful lady. She was loved by many and will now be missed by all.

Posted by Elaine Wheeler    February 18, 2020

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