Marilyn L. (Lewis) Birnie, age 77, of Quincy, passed away peacefully on Saturday, July 13, 2019. She was the beloved wife of Charles "Rod" Birnie; dear daughter of the late Charles and Helen Lewis; devoted mother of Heidi and her husband Stephen Cerullo of Norton and Rachel Meissner and her fiancé Robert Haley of Hingham; dear sister of Virginia Burbank of Quincy; and loving Grammy of Luke Cerullo and Abigail Meissner.
Marilyn was born in Dorchester, Massachusetts and graduated from Cardinal Cushing High School. She was a graduate of Mary Brooks Junior College and later studied psychology at Bridgewater State College. She held many positions including medical secretary, Teacher-Training Director of the Art Linkletter-Totten dance school, and then with her sister Gigi, ran the Hingham School of Dance.
Marilyn was an incredibly loving and supportive mother who was the first person you called to give good news, but also was the one who gave immense comfort, counsel and peace in the tough times. She was gifted with many talents; she was an artist, a musician and a dancer. She had that Irish sense of humor and could tell a great story, but what is most impressive is her strength and courage and her love for the Lord.
Many of you knew Marilyn through her life’s work at "Friends of the Unborn", the ministry she founded in 1984. It’s a long-term maternity shelter for women dealing with an unplanned pregnancy, who are in need of a safe haven and support. It started with just one girl, who came to live in her home. She may have been short on funds, but she was big on love, compassion and faith. Over time, “Friends” grew and support came pouring in. Marilyn’s step of faith provided an opportunity for others to share their gifts as well, as the Lord prompted their hearts to support this ministry continuously for 35 years. “Friends” has served thousands of women and babies and transformed the lives of more people than we could ever know.
Marilyn also had a heart for the people of Kenya, Africa, after her husband Charles (Rod) founded Light of Christ Ministries in 1995. Together, they stepped out with great faith and ran a mission there for many years. During her time in Kenya, Marilyn answered the Lord’s call to share the Gospel, feed and teach street children, and provide food for famine relief. She also continued her mission to aid homeless pregnant women in need.
She had a Christlike heart and trusted that if God had asked something of her, He would provide …and He did. And He does. “Friends” continues its lifesaving work today and it will continue, even now that this inspirational woman is longer with us. Her unwavering faith is a testament to all that with God’s help, each one of us can be an Angel among us.
"Well done good and faithful servant." Matthew 25:23
Visiting hours at the Alfred D. Thomas Funeral Home, 326 Granite Ave., Milton, Thursday, 4 to 8 p.m. Funeral Mass at St. John the Baptist Church, Quincy, Friday morning at 10 a.m. Burial in Pine Hill Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her memory to Friends of the Unborn, P.O. Box 692246, Quincy, MA 02269.