She was a young woman when she arrived in New York City after departing the western shores of Ireland. It was then, Mary Ellen Cunniffe (Maureen) would begin her new life, and it was at an Irish American dancehall where she met Michael Padraig (Patrick) Wade who was “trying to be all that” when he asked her for a dance. As life would have it back in the day, Maureen was committed to an “arranged” relationship in her hometown in Ireland, but Mike followed her back-home persuading Maureen to meet him on an east-bound train to Dublin where they then eloped and married. They returned to NYC in time for Mike to leave for Army Infantry School and ultimately the Korean War. Maureen, in the meantime, was busy finding employment and setting up housekeeping. When Mike returned from Korea, Maureen had found, fully furnished, and made a home for them in Manhattan, NYC.
Maureen was born in Dunmore, County Galway, Ireland in 1925. She was married to the love of her life for 62 years when Mike passed away in May 2016. They had three children, Caroline, Stephen, and Thomas. They lost Thomas in 2005, but through their faith, friends, and family, they kept Thomas’s memory alive. Her grandchildren, along with great grandchildren, were everything to her. Maureen traveled wherever Mike’s Army career took them from New York to Arizona, to Germany twice and back before they ultimately settled in Albuquerque, NM. She maintained her faith and loyalty, holding the family together, while Mike spent three years at war for this country. She was feisty and forthcoming, always coming from a place of love and best interests, and was extraordinary in her interactions with others, exuding a motherly presence to anyone she would meet – her life was defined by her faith, love, loyalty, honesty and trust.
Maureen found her calling working with children with intellectual and physical disabilities. Her selflessness, divine love, and strength of affection enabled her to connect to a universal spirit, providing her with a powerful intuition about her gifted children and seeing potential where others did not. She developed the trust of not only those she cared for but the families who entrusted her with their precious children. Maureen worked for Albuquerque Public Schools for 23 years, culminating with her work at Mark Twain Elementary School. She volunteered with the American Red Cross, Roadrunner Food Bank, Presbyterian Daffodil Days, was a Eucharistic Minister at Lovelace Medical Center and at Sangre de Cristo Church, she taught Catechism, worked with the St. Vincent de Paul Society and volunteered in the office. She was a vibrant presence at the Brother Mathias Annual St. Patrick’s Day Dinners.
Maureen, beloved wife and high-spirited mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, passed away peacefully with poise and gratefulness at the young age of 94. She is survived by her daughter, Caroline Wade Blankenship, and husband, Dale; son, Stephen Wade, and wife, Kris; daughter-in-law, Patti Wade; her grandchildren and great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews; including her brother, Anthony’s children, Anne, Mary, Monica, Barbara, Philomena and Anthony. Maureen was preceded in death by her parents, John and Mary Cunniffe; her brothers, Timothy, Anthony and Stephen, and sister, Bren, and son, Thomas.
We are grateful to all the wonderful people who provided care to Maureen at Footprints Home Care, Encompass, Kindred, The Retreat Healthcare and Hospice de la Luz.
A Rosary will be recited Saturday, October 12, 2019 at 10:00 a.m., followed by Mass of Christian Burial and Eulogy at 10:30 a.m., at Sangre de Cristo Catholic Church, 8901 Candelaria Rd NE, Albuquerque, NM.