Elaine Marley was the perfect example of someone who lived life to the fullest and left a mark on her family, her
friends and a community that will commemorate her life forever. Most commonly known as “Mrs. Marley,” she has been described as a role model, an educational leader, a loving friend, grandparent and parent, and someone who will be remembered for her fierce independence and love of life.
As the proud business owner of Mrs. Marley’s Nursery School for 40 years, she has left a lasting effect on the town with her love for children and dedication to education and has served as a rippling effect for all those who followed in her footsteps.
“Mrs. Marley created a fun learning environment where children thrived and developed at their own pace,” said Marci Hamilton, early childhood educator and daycare owner, who was one of Marley’s first employees. “She was my role model and I’m blessed today to be caring for the children of the children I cared for while working with her.”
While Marley suffered several heartbreaking losses in her 91 years, she continued to focus on the good fortune that she had with her six children, 10 grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, and 11 siblings. As the oldest of her siblings, she had a natural knack for taking care of others and demonstrated this with her students and their families.
“She had a heart of gold,” said Charlene Marley, who was Elaine’s oldest daughter and sidekick. “There was one time when a mother couldn’t afford tuition and my mom not only let her child attend, but she also gave the woman money for Christmas gifts for her children.”
While Marley will certainly be remembered as an educational legend in the town of Winthrop, her memories go beyond the classroom and spill out into other areas of the community. Charlene described a cab driver who showed up to the funeral with tears in his eyes. Proving just how powerful her kind-hearted personality was, she left a mark on even those she seldom saw. Her community efforts were recognized in 2009, when the Winthrop Chamber of Commerce presented her with the Lifetime Achievement Award for her outstanding work in education and the community.
“Nana was the true definition of strong, she endured more heartache and pain than most people could ever handle. She was widowed at age 42, and lost her oldest son Kevin. She never gave up when most people would have,” said Danielle McLaughlin, Marley’s granddaughter, in the eulogy that was read at her funeral. “She remained strong for her children and family because that’s who she was, a strong and determined women from East Boston, who knew she had to continue on this road called life.”