In these days of unfortunate denigration of people who choose a career in state government, it is important to recognize those who devote their lives to public service -- not in a flashy or ostentatious way -- but in just doing their job thoughtfully and well every day of the week. Rita (McCafferty) McQueeney was one such person, and she passed away peacefully and quietly this week.
Rita was a secretary in the state's Department of Public Utilities, working for a succession of Commissioners in that regulatory agency. She lived in Mansfield, south of Boston, and would take the train to work every day. I don't ever recall her missing a day of work. Even during the worst snow storms, she would show up bundled up with boots on. But beyond that, her attitude and approach to work and life was always positive. She had a marvelous sense of humor and excellent judgment about people, which never got in the way of her being inevitably polite, respectful, and helpful to all.
I was fortunate to work with her during my two terms in the agency, from 1977-78, and then again from 1983-1987. During the second term, my young daughters would often come to visit the office, and they adored Rita. I have wonderful memories of their laughing together about some secret that they were keeping from their father and boss!
Rita and I stayed in touch after I left the DPU, but irregularly. She always knew about my latest job and would have astute observations about the political environment within which I was working. But she mainly wanted to know how "her girls" were doing and would have the pride of an honorary aunt when I would tell her of their accomplishments.
She will be missed by all who knew her.