Official Obituary of

Dr. Mary M. McLaughlin

March 13, 2024

Dr. Mary McLaughlin Obituary

Dr. Mary M. McLaughlin, 81, of Marcellus NY, passed away unexpectedly on March 13, 2024.  Born in Woburn, MA, and the eldest of 6 siblings, Mary was the beloved daughter of the late John and Mary (Caulfield) McLaughlin.  After graduating early from the Woburn public schools, Mary received a BA in English and Philosophy from Emmanuel College in Boston.  She initially taught middle and high school English outside of Boston before relocating with her family to the Central New York area.  There she attended Syracuse University and obtained a masters degree in Guidance and Counseling, and for several years worked as a middle school and high school guidance counselor.  Mary was particularly adept at working with challenging students, and many colleagues encouraged her to continue her education and pursue a doctorate.  With that in mind she returned to Syracuse University and eventually obtained a Ph.D in rehabilitation psychology, specializing in treating individuals with psychiatric disabilities and brain injuries.   As she tells it, receiving her degree at the same graduation ceremony as her son Mark, who simultaneously attended Syracuse University as an undergraduate, made the rigor of her doctoral program entirely worthwhile.

Now as Dr. Mary, she founded Emotional Education Services LLC shortly after graduation, where she combined her teaching skills with a keen interest in promoting mental health fitness and the prevention of psychiatric disorders.  In that regard she developed and created several programs designed to offer skills and strategies to help obtain and maintain resilient mental health.  It was along this path that Dr. Mary began working with the chronically homeless population as a fierce and passionate advocate, advisor, and organizer.  This became her true calling, and by 2015 Dr. Mary had formed Cape Haven, Inc., a recognized 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation, with primary goals of conducting research, influencing the direction of public health policies, ending the cycling and recycling of homeless and disabled individuals through shelters and the streets, and developing and promoting recommendations with respect to the provision of individualized health care, rehabilitation, social and legal services plans that serve to sustain and maintain long term housing stability.  Dr. Mary was also staunch advocated for increasing US Veteran services and homeless housing.

Dr. Mary’s significant impact and advocacy was felt on both the local and national level.  She helped house and treat countless numbers of homeless people in and around where she lived in Central New York, she appeared on television, produced videos, and authored numerous articles advocating for the homeless, and she served as an adviser to homeless advocates across the country.  Her strong sense of purpose made her ageless, and as recently as 2023, Dr. Mary became affiliated with the Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health, collaborating with and mentoring a masters degree candidate as they analyzed research Mary had gathered and conducted during a 6-month study of the homeless population in her area.  

Dr. Mary’s intellect and immense generosity, together with her warm, inviting, and sincere personality (and her unapologetic Boston accent) provided her with many friends and acquaintances upon each of whom she had a profound impact.  No conversation with her was ever too long.  She was a loving grandmother, mother, sister, aunt, cousin and friend and will be dearly missed by all who loved her.

Personally, apart from her family and friends, Dr. Mary also loved Boston and everything associated with it (particularly lobster), and she especially loved the water­ ­and to swim – near her home she owned in Alexandria Bay, NY on the St. Lawrence River, and at the Jersey Shore in Avalon with (yes) her son’s in-laws, whom she adored.  She also loved to talk about her travels in and around Europe, and all things politics and current events. 

Dr. Mary – “Mimi” – is survived by her son Mark Parmelee, her daughter-in-law Megan, their four children/her grandchildren (whom she loved unconditionally) Christopher, Cameron, Carsyn, and Colby, along with her two “grandpuppies” Clover and Marlowe, of Westfield NJ.  She is also survived by her sister Ruth Walton, of Sacco ME, and brothers Jack McLaughlin of Carver MA, and Kevin McLaughlin of Billerica MA, as well as many nieces and nephews (of which she was the eldest).  She is predeceased by her longtime partner John Capocefalo, of Auburn NY, and her two other brothers, Thomas, of Bourne MA, and Jerry, of Cambridge MA. 

Visitation will take place on Saturday, March 23 from 10:30-11:30 AM at St. Helen’s Church, 1600 Rahway Avenue, Westfield NJ.  A Funeral Mass will immediately follow at 11:30 AM at St. Helen’s.  The Mass will also be livestreamed for all of Mary’s friends from afar.  To livestream the Mass please use the following link:

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Cape Haven in her memory.    

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March 23, 2024

10:30 AM to 11:30 AM
St. Helen's RC Church
1600 Rahway Ave
Westfield, NJ 07090

Mass of Christian Burial
March 23, 2024

11:30 AM
St. Helen's RC Church
1600 Rahway Ave
Westfield, NJ 07090


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