Newburyport — Julia (Lynch) Flaherty, 95, died peacefully at home on Nov. 29.
The daughter of Michael D. and Abby (McCarthy) Lynch, she was born in Newbury. When she was 2 years old, the family moved to Newburyport, where she has lived since. She attended the Brown and Jackman schools and graduated from Newburyport High School in 1935. She was the bookkeeper at Collis’ Market until her marriage in 1942 to Thomas J. “Bud” Flaherty Jr., who predeceased her in 1999 and with whom she raised six children.
While their children were young, Julia worked occasionally as a licensed electrologist at home. She reentered the workforce when her youngest child was in the fifth grade, working “mother’s hours” at Jordan Marsh in Peabody, then later taking courses at the American Institute of Banking and working in the commercial loans division of the Arlington Trust Bank.
Julia read avidly and widely until shortly before her death. She was a faithful patron of the Newburyport Public Library, especially the Emma L. Andrews branch, where she signed for her first library card at the age of 5 and for which she worked in more recent years, with a dedicated group of neighbors, to keep open.
Julia and Bud always enjoyed music and dancing, from their first dance at the City Hall ballroom, to square dancing in Pete’s barn in Newbury, to Saturday nights at the Sportsmen’s Lodge, to their last waltz in the living room before Bud’s open-heart surgery. Julia was last seen dancing with the kids at a granddaughter’s wedding when she was an energetic 88 years old.
Julia was recognized for her years of dedicated service as vice president of the North East Essex District Alliance for the Mentally Ill. She worked tirelessly on behalf of people with mental illness and their families at a time when the state institutions were closing and the form and fate of community mental health services were uncertain at best and frightening and unwanted at worst.