Margaret Anne McGovern left this life in the early moments of Thanksgiving morning, Nov. 28, 2013, surrounded by her loving family. That she chose to leave us on Thanksgiving was Mom’s elegance: immediately helping us move grief to the spirit of gratitude.
Born Margaret Anne Whooley, in New York, on July 20, 1933, “Maggie,” her parents and siblings came west to San Francisco in 1945, into the thriving Irish Catholic community of that time. She finished grammar school at St. Anne’s, and following the family’s move to Guerrero Street, attended St. Paul’s High School where she was a straight A student, except for in “conduct” (a fact of which she was always proud).
With her passing, Maggie joins her beloved husband of 56 years, Edward, who left this life one year ago. Together, they were loving parents to eight children, Ed (Tina) McGovern; Margaret (Frank) van Beuningen; Maureen Kelly; Brian (Theresa) McGovern; Kevin (Lori) McGovern; Eileen (Andy) Patania; Deirdre (Douglas) Muller; Moira McGovern. Maggie was beloved “Mimi” to grandchildren Katie, Claire, Meagan and Jack; Molly, Danny and Grace; Brian, Christopher, Thomas, Stephen and Elizabeth; Rosie; and Devin and Ryan. She is survived by her sisters, Janet Johnson, Marilyn Devlin, and Maureen Bowman; brothers, Michael and Danny Whooley; and numerous loving nieces and nephews; and is preceded in death by her parents, John and Peggy Whooley; and brothers, Jack and Jeremiah Whooley.
In 1963, Maggie and Ed co-founded Knight’s Restaurant and Catering in the heart of the Civic Center of San Francisco, and for more than 40 years in business served presidents, a Pope, the famous (and infamous) from all over the world. It was a true partnership, with Ed as CEO and Master of Ceremonies, and Maggie as the gracious hostess and strong CFO.
Together, Maggie and Ed became world travelers, visiting six continents – including several trips to Amsterdam, Ireland, all the world capitals, and to their beloved Kauai – where they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 2006 with 30 of their closest family. In 2005, Maggie and Ed retired to their beautiful home in Sonoma, where they became active members of the community and formed new circles of loving friends.
Mom’s elegance was the core of her spirit, and she lived her life with both style and service. She was a member of St. Paul’s alumni, Loyola Guild, past president of Little Children’s Aid Auxiliary, served on the board of Catholic Charities for eight years, was a member of the Archbishop’s Ring of Charity, Knights of Holy Sepulcher, and in later years, volunteered weekly at St. Vincent de Paul and St. Francis in Sonoma.
On Thursday, December 5, a visitation will be held at 7 p.m. with a rosary at 8 p.m. at The Orradre Chapel at Saint Ignatius High School (2001 37th Ave., San Francisco). A funeral Mass will be said at 1 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6, at St. Francis Solano Church (469 Third St. W., Sonoma).
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Maggie’s memory to St. Vincent de Paul Society c/o St. Francis Solano Church, Sonoma or to The Jack McGovern Coats Disease Foundation, 20 Park Road, Suite E, Burlingame, CA 94010 (www.coatsdiseasefoundation.org).